Engineering awarding body, EAL, responds to BIS announcement on apprenticeship increases

Posted on 31 Jan 2012 by The Manufacturer

Ann Watson is MD of the UKs leading awarding body for engineering NVQs, EAL. She comments regularly on skills and apprenticeship issues for The Manufacturer and here gives some added insight into news released today by government that apprenticeships starts increased 63% in the academic year 2010-2011 on those recorded in 2009-2010.

Apprenticeship numbers have seen a steep rise over the past year and this trend is only likely to continue, with new investment in vocational training programmes and pay incentives for businesses.

However, despite an overall increase of 63.5% on apprenticeship starts across the board between 2009/10 to 2010/11, a breakdown of previously released provisional figures* showed a rise of just 24% in engineering and manufacturing technologies over the same period. In comparison, these same figures revealed a 70% increase in business, administration and law starts.

With predicted skills shortages in manufacturing and engineering and concerns raised over the number of young people gaining the right qualifications to maintain one of the UK’s largest sectors, we must address this disparity in Apprenticeship starts. Greater efforts must be made to encourage more young people into manufacturing and engineering and to ensure the support is there to develop the high levels of specialist knowledge and technical skills needed.

*According to figures published by The Data Service for 2009/10, the number of Apprenticeship starts in engineering and manufacturing technologies in the UK was 37,860, rising by 24% to 47,020 by 2010/11 (provisional). In comparison, there were 76,590 starts in business, administration and law during 2009/10, rising by 70% to 130,290 in 2010/11. Full details can be found here: