Apprentices are being encouraged to let their voices be heard in the corridors of power to help improve the image and perception of technical and vocational education, and lead the calls for better careers advice in schools.
The Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) has launched its fourth annual survey to gather the views of young apprentices across the UK.
The results of the survey – which is open until Friday March 10 – will be presented in the Spring to the relevant ministers, MPs, stakeholders and policymakers to shape the advice, training and careers for those in future years to come.
The survey can be filled in here.
Founded and supported by EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry and now run by the Semta Group, the IAC is made up of young apprentices from all sectors throughout the UK.
It has firmly established itself as the voice of apprentices with members regularly invited to address ministers, MPs, peers and leaders in both business and education. The Skills Minister will be attending an upcoming meeting and last year’s annual report has been quoted in the House of Commons.
Shadow Skills Minister Gordon Marsden MP, who quoted from the report, commented: “As the government presses ahead with its apprenticeship reforms, it’s vital that the voice of apprentices is heard in the corridors of power.
“The IAC survey is a fantastic opportunity to make that happen – and the more apprentices that respond, the louder that voice becomes. I encourage all apprentices across industry to take part and to help shape the future of apprenticeships.”
The 2017 report will build upon 2016’s breakthrough report, which for the first time included a Five Point Plan to boost the status and quality of apprenticeships by:
- ensuring the quality of apprenticeships is protected through qualifications as the quantity increases
- asking employers to make apprentices more aware of career options
- reforming careers advice
- ensuring employers offer progression routes to apprentices capable of pursuing them
- setting up an NUS-style body to represent apprentices’ interests
Semta Group’s chief executive, Ann Watson explained: “All the young apprentices in the IAC are passionate advocates of apprenticeships and have told their stories, including prejudices and perceived barriers to taking this career path, to ensure it is not seen as the poor relation to academic routes.
“With the government’s target of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the voice of the apprentices themselves has never been more important. No doubt the newly formed Institute of Apprenticeships will find the IAC survey data invaluable in their work.”
Previous surveys have highlighted problems in the system and the importance of ensuring apprenticeships are recognised with professional accreditation.
Key findings of the 2016 survey, in which more than 1,500 apprentices took part, included:
- Careers advice is still in crisis
- 50% of respondents found out about their apprenticeship through their own initiative – just 15% found out from a teacher or careers adviser
- Only 24% of apprentices were actively encouraged to take up an apprenticeship by educators
- 84% had not heard of the planned apprenticeship levy
- 70% are unaware of the government’s 3m apprenticeships target
- 75% want a professional accreditation as standard
Watson added: “It will be interesting to see how things have progressed in the past 12 months and give us a firm idea of how apprenticeships are being viewed by employers, training and education organisations, peers and parents through the eyes of the apprentices themselves.”