Reinvigorate STEM subjects in schools or we risk a crisis in the economically important engineering sector, EAL has said.
Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, has called for more to be done to encourage young people into engineering Apprenticeships following the publication of the Social Market Foundation’s (SMF) In The Balance: The STEM human capital crunch report.
The report, which is supported by EngineeringUK, said as many as one in five 21-year-olds must enter the engineering profession each year until 2020 to overcome skills shortages. SMF says the industry is already 40,000 short of the number of STEM students it needs each year, a problem that will get worse as the engineering workforce ages and retires.
Ann said: “The engineering sector, in particular, is heading for catastrophe unless we encourage more young people to take up STEM subjects at GCSE and A Level and follow through to engineering Apprenticeships at Level 3 and above.
“Engineering and manufacturing are vitally important to our economy – employing over five million people, in more than 500,000 enterprises and generating a turnover in excess of £1trillion a year. We need over two million more engineers by the time today’s primary school pupils reach working age.
“One important aspect to encouraging greater uptake and enthusiasm surrounding STEM subjects is role models, school visits and showing young people where their interest in science, technology, engineering and maths can lead them.
“A project EAL is proud to be funding and supporting, alongside IMI Awards, is the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC). The IAC is made up of talented, highly motivated apprentices in the engineering and manufacturing sector – superb role models for school leavers who want to design and build cars, aeroplanes, defence technology and even chocolate bars for a living! There is such a diversity of careers associated with engineering and manufacturing and the IAC is ideally placed to inspire, educate and encourage more young people to follow in their footsteps.”
EAL intends to play a pivotal role engineering the future of apprenticeships – as outlined in The Government’s response to the Richard Review which was released today (14.03.13).
The specialist employer-recognised awarding organisation has pledged to be a catalyst for change – using its engagement with clients to ensure that their voices are heard as the debate evolves.
Managing Director Ann Watson embraced the direction signalled by the Government response and the call for employers to play a more vertically integrated role in building the future for skills.
“We will play a pivotal role,” said Ann.
“Employer ownership is the way forward – and that has been recognised by Richard and the Government.
“We are totally engaged to the employers that we serve and have been for many years – and know that this approach works.
“There is much work to be done before the new statutes are set in stone – and EAL has hit the ground running.
EAL is already working with IMechE to ensure that Eng Tech accreditation is a natural outcome of Level 3 Apprenticeships.
During the last 5 years more than 500,000 people have embarked on an EAL qualification – which relate to the engineering, manufacturing, building services and related sectors.
The organisation is recognised as offering specialist unrivalled service levels helping blue-chip, multi-national, small and micro companies optimise the potential of their employees.
EAL was instrumental in forming the Industry Apprentice Council – a representative body of young apprentices that met for first time at the turn of the year and which met Skills Minister Matthew Hancock in Parliament in January.
IAC member Hal Willis, 20, an Aeronautical Engineering Apprentice for Airbus said: “Apprenticeships should be less about ticking boxes and more about performing well throughout.
“The individual modules may be company specific but this would have to lead to widely recognised qualifications. Providing it reduces the complexity of frameworks it's a good thing.
"I do like the idea of all apprenticeships offering Level 2 English and Maths. That’s a very good idea. We're trying to promote Apprenticeships as a valid and equal opportunity to the academic route and basic levels in English and maths should define Apprenticeships."
EAL is embarking on a full consultation process with industry employers and training providers.
The Industry Apprentice Council has met with Skills Minister Matthew Hancock MP at the House of Commons to discuss Apprenticeships promotion – led by apprentices – and put forward their views on the Richards Review.
The committee of 13 industry apprentices, all aged between 18 and 24, attended the All Party Parliamentary Apprenticeships Group (APPAG) to ask Mr Hancock how the government plans to ensure quality and promote the vocational pathway as an equal opportunity to higher education.
The IAC asked the Minister if he would meet with them so they could put forward their ideas on an advertising campaign, to raise awareness among parents, teachers and young people and highlight the great experiences available to apprentices as part of the vocational route.
Mr Hancock replied: “How could I say no?”
One IAC member who stood up to question the Minister said: “In the brief time we’ve had together as the IAC we have identified a severe lack of understanding in academic circles of apprenticeships and what they mean. There is a lack of careers advice for school pupils because of this. How would you tackle this?”
Mr Hancock replied: “The best way to get someone into a career is to make sure they get the information they need – and there can be lots of information available. But just having the information is not enough. It is about the quality of that information and being able to navigate your way through the system.
“For the first time, we have introduced destination data for people on Apprenticeships. We also need to make sure people have access to the national careers service in their area. And we need to make sure schools are properly regulated in their duty to provide careers advice – Ofsted will be going into schools in the summer to do this.”
Another IAC member said: “We were talking earlier about the Richard Review, specifically about the recommendation about a final assessment. We had mixed views, but my personal opinion is that if people are looking at doing an Apprenticeship and they see a pass / fail exam at the end of it, isn’t that going to put young people off?”
In response, the Mr Hancock said: “I think if every apprentice spoke as eloquently as you then we would have succeeded.”
At the end of the session, another apprentice spoke about their own experiences at school: “I didn’t want to go into higher education. I thought going into an apprenticeship I could earn a wage and learn a skill and that was a good option. But at school I didn’t get any information about Apprenticeships. And career fairs seem to be people “out for a jolly” rather than finding out more about Apprenticeships. What can be done to improve this?”
Mr Hancock responded: “We will find out more from Ofsted on how well schools are doing.”
Representatives of the IAC will be arranging to meet Mr Hancock to discuss his offer of support for their campaign activities.
The IAC was convened in partnership between EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, and IMI Awards, the leading awarding body for the retail motor industry. Both organisations previously brought together the APPAG, to ensure Apprenticeships are discussed regularly among Parliamentarians and other key influencers.
The IAC, which gathers regularly to discuss the key issues affecting Apprenticeships, is made up of apprentices from some of the UK’s largest employers, including: Airbus, BAE Systems, Caunton Engineering, DAF Trucks, Ford Dealerships, Ford GB, KMF, MBDA, National Grid, Nestlé and Vauxhall.
The IAC welcomes input from apprentices, learners and the wider community. Questions or comments can be made through the group’s Facebook page.
Industry apprentices are being given a unique opportunity to add their voice to the national debate on vocational learning.
The first Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) has been launched for apprentices to have their say on national policy and strategy, take action of Apprenticeship promotion and feedback directly to government ministers.
The apprentices, who are next meeting on Wednesday, February 6th, will gather regularly to discuss the latest reviews and reports, government proposals and other issues affecting the vocational pathway – particularly promotion of Apprenticeships to school pupils, a subject highlighted by the apprentices themselves.
The IAC’s conclusions, findings and ideas will be fed directly into the All Party Parliamentary Apprenticeships Group (APPAG), which is also meeting on February 6th, with Skills Minister Matthew Hancock.
The IAC has been convened in partnership between EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, and IMI Awards, the leading awarding body for the retail motor industry. Both organisations previously brought together the APPAG, to ensure Apprenticeships are discussed regularly among Parliamentarians and other key influencers.
Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL, said: “The Industry Apprentice Council is a unique and important body that will give industry apprentices a genuine voice in Parliament and among key decision makers. The members of the Council will also become ambassadors for Apprenticeships in their sectors, raising their profile and promoting the opportunities to young people at school.
“The IAC members are enthusiastic, highly skilled, determined and intelligent individuals – superb examples of the standard of industry apprentices. They are not afraid to have their say and get stuck in and this is exactly what we were looking for when we set up the IAC.
“I am looking forward to hearing their views and opinions going forward. I am sure they will have some interesting ideas – a unique perspective on Apprenticeships and how they feel the vocational pathway can be improved for current and future apprentices.”
The IAC is made up of 12 apprentices aged 18 to 24 years old, from companies including: Airbus, BAE Systems, Caunton Engineering, DAF Trucks, Ford Dealerships, Ford GB, KMF, MBDA, National Grid, Nestlé and Vauxhall.
At the next meeting, the IAC will be discussing the Richard Review of Apprenticeships, among other policy recommendations, before attending the APPAG in the afternoon, to hear from and speak to the Skills Minister.
The Green Deal will place greater demand on installers of energy efficient technologies and businesses should take advantage of the opportunity, says EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications.
Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL, said: “With government’s Green Deal finally going live, following delays and uncertainties at the end of 2012, demand for installers of energy efficient technologies will rise over the coming months and years. Businesses should be ready to take advantage of the huge investment in sustainable technologies, with government putting in an initial £125million to fund the cash back scheme. It is hoped this will inspire much greater private investment, to cover the initial cost of installing solid wall and cavity insulation in homes, to name just two of the 45 different types of improvements currently available under the Green Deal.
“On top of this investment, £3.5million has been made available to fund training in key Green Deal skills. It is expected that 60,000 jobs will be supported in the insulation sector alone by 2015 – up from 26,000 in 2011. It is important that high quality, rigorous training and qualifications are available to workers and businesses if they are to take advantage of this opportunity. Homeowners must also be assured that Green Deal assessors and installers who are carrying out work on their houses are qualified to the highest standards if the scheme is to succeed.
“EAL recently launched a new qualification to help tradespeople spot the potential to install energy-saving measures. The award winning Level 2 Award in Understanding Sustainable Refurbishment from EAL helps businesses to identify low carbon business opportunities through the Green Deal. Learners will be taken through the need for energy efficient buildings, the energy relationship between building materials, systems and occupancy and how to develop their roles onsite so they can improve the energy performance of a building.
“Nationally recognised qualifications show that tradespeople have the knowledge and skills to offer a trusted service that meets the standards demanded by industry. Getting qualified will put them ahead of the competition, as well as improve their level of service and support. It will also create new business opportunities and help employees looking to progress in their careers by becoming Green Deal advisors, Green Deal remote advisors or domestic energy assessors, among other roles.”