Apprentices set out their plans for the future
Julia Chippendale, EAL’s MD, highlights the need for improving apprenticeship processes and the importance of the work done by apprentices themselves in improving the image of the vocational pathway as she writes about EAL’s House of Commons reception. Among the highlights of the event were the launch of the second annual Industry Apprentice Survey and the ‘Closer to Industry with EAL’ pledge.
I was delighted to speak at the EAL reception in the House of Commons on 4 November 2014 and support the Industry Apprentice Council’s plans for the next 12 months.
The reception was hosted by Gordon Birtwistle MP, Government Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business, and attended by the IAC members, industry employers, training providers and parliamentarians, including Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Nick Boles MP, Minister of State for Skills.
Members of the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) launched the second annual Industry Apprentice Survey, designed to gather apprentices’ experiences and views to help guide the council’s work over the coming months. They also introduced the ‘Closer to Industry with EAL’ pledge, which is aimed at schools and UTCs, to help promote the vocational pathway.
The apprentices spoke with eloquence about their experiences and how they would like to change perceptions of apprenticeships. One of them, Anna Schlautmann, a 21-year-old fourth year logistics apprentice at MBDA Missile Systems, even addressed the gathering in fluent German, to make her point that apprenticeships are for bright, intelligent young people, and that her German colleagues could not believe that in the UK apprenticeships were not considered the first choice route into great careers.
EAL is proud to have founded the Industry Apprentice Council as we believe apprentices themselves should have a say in the future of apprenticeships – and the IAC is our way of giving them that voice.
It is our way of re-investing in the vital UK industries we serve. As a specialist industry awarding organisation focused on supporting our sectors' employers, we are dedicated to empowering industry apprentices to champion the vocational pathway into industry. After all, they are the ones with the most recent first-hand experience of careers advice and it’s their opinion that young people value.
Promoting the vocational pathway
There’s no doubt that industry employers regard apprenticeships as a first class choice for young people aspiring to make it in industry.
The job now at hand is to ensure schools careers advice is unbiased, that young people are not pushed towards the academic route as a matter of course and that they are inspired to opt for apprenticeships in industry.
The ‘Closer to Industry with EAL’ pledge that the IAC unveiled, is part of this effort. It will recognise the schools and UTCs that provide excellent careers advice and work in partnership with industry employers. By creating visibility for their work, we hope it will inspire others to work towards partnership with industry.
The second annual Industry Apprentice Survey will also play a key role in gathering the views of our current apprentices across industry. The survey is now open, so please encourage all industry apprentices to take part.
Getting the apprenticeship processes right
EAL is playing a pivotal role in the Trailblazer groups in our core sectors to ensure that the new standards will deliver improvements for both employers and learners.
This is fundamental work. It’s about getting the processes right. But we also need to address the threat of skills gaps in our key industries. The skills talent pipeline is equally important. This will be the main thrust of the IAC’s work over the next year.
The plans that the IAC members have set out span gathering views across industry apprentices, championing careers advice based on an industry and schools partnership and making the working relationship between industry and schools as effective as possible.
Working with our employers we hope to bring the powerful principles of ‘lean’ manufacturing to the myriad of school-employer initiatives to make our partnerships better and get the talent pipeline flowing.
The IAC’s work has already helped us work more effectively. And they are only growing stronger, so this is a very exciting time for all involved.
Finally, I would like to encourage all schools and UTCs to sign up to the ‘Closer to Industry with EAL’ pledge, and all of you who work with apprentices to spread the word about the apprentice survey and help us gather the views of apprentices to guide the work of the IAC going forward.