Bill Twigg, apprentice director for Semta, the sector skills council for science and manufacturing, announced the development of a new higher level apprenticeship at the Future of Apprenticeships conference last week.
Speakers at the conference, held at Westminster studios, included business leaders, government officials and cabinet members.
Mr Twigg explained that Semta’s new higher level apprenticeship has been developed in response to employer difficulties in recruiting suitably skilled staff in the UK.
According to Mr Twigg, a third of high technology manufacturing firms say they have been forced to recruit from outside the UK to meet their skills requirements.
“We’re keen to support businesses in developing the right talent here in the UK, boosting the overall economy,” said Twigg.
Semta hopes that the new frame work will allow companies to ‘grow their own’ graduate talent as well as providing a route to university which includes employment experience and avoids high levels of debt.
The proportion of employees with higher level qualifications has increased by almost a third in the last ten years making the need for these skills clear.
Semta and the National Apprenticeship Service announced last year that by 2016 they aim to double the amount of higher level apprenticeships from 8,000 to 16,000.
However, only 10% of the apprenticeship starts announced by the Government in February were in manufacturing and engineering. This leaves a lot in “softer” parts of the economy such as bar tending and hairdressing.