A council of industry apprentices has been launched to ensure trainees get direct input into the development of relevant policy and strategy in government.
Members of the Industry Apprenticeship Council will feed back on the effectiveness of apprenticeship promotion and delivery across the UK.
The first council meeting was held on Feb 6 and will gather regularly to discuss reviews and reports of UK apprenticeship frameworks and the clarity of the training landscape from a learner perspective.
The will also advise government on how to better promote vocational pathways in schools.
The council is made up of 13 industry apprentices, all aged between 18 and 24. They represent organisations including; Airbus, BAE Systems, Caunton Engineering, DAF Trucks, Ford Dealerships, Ford GB, KMF, MBDA, National Grid, Nestlé and Vauxhall.
In their its first meeting with government, the IAC spoke to skills minister Mathew Hancock about member experiences of inequality in the promotion of vocational education as opposed to traditional higher education options.
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.”
Mr Hancock defended government’s actions on providing information about apprenticeship routes but admitted that “just having information is not enough”. He said that information currently available needs to be made more accessible.
Mr Hancock also voiced government intentions to improve career advice in schools with a series of focused Ofsted inspections this summer.
The findings of each IAC meeting will be fed into the All Party Parliamentary Apprenticeships Group (APPAG) which will be responsible for progressing ideas and suggestions.
The next meeting will give apprentice feedback on the Richard Review of Apprenticeshipspublished last year.
The IAC was convened in partnership between engineering awarding body EAL and motor industry awarding body IMI.
These organisations were also responsible for the original formation of the APPAG.
Ann Watson, Managing Director of EAL, said the IAC is a unique and important body that will give industry apprentices a genuine voice in Parliament. “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,” she explained.
Meet apprentice training managers, business leaders and industry training providers at TM’s Future Factory: Driving Skills Development in the Workforce event.
Central to the day is learning about effective engagement with young people and schools.
When? Feb 26
Where: Waldorf Hilton, London
More info here.