Engineering awarding body EAL has spearheaded the launch of a new cross party group for the improvement of apprenticeship provision in the UK.
The group was established yesterday by EAL, the body responsible for awarding engineering industry qualifications in conjunction with IMI Awards, the awarding body for the retail motor industry.
This is the first All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) dedicated to the advancement of apprenticeships.
The new APPG will be chaired by Gordon Birtwistle MP, the Liberal Democrat MP for Burnley and Private Parliamentary Secretary to Danny Alexander MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Mr Birtwistle began his working career as a craft apprentice for a textile manufacturer, and has over 50 years’ experience as an engineer and employer in industry.
The group will spend the next 12 months contacting politicians, employers and training providers in order to understand the best routes for promoting apprenticeship to employers across sectors.
The effect of emerging industries on existing apprenticeship frameworks will also be considered.
At the group’s first meeting at the House of Commons yesterday morning, Mr Birtwistle said: “As someone who started their career as an engineering apprentice, I know the value of the vocational training. But too often they are seen as a route only for those who have failed academically and are unable to go to university. I want to see these perceptions change and for Apprenticeships to be widely recognised as a route into highly skilled occupations.”
Ann Watson, managing director of EAL, supported Mr Birtwistle’s comments saying: “Apprenticeships are rightfully respected by many industry employers, because they combine the practical and theoretical learning that is so important for young people and adults to succeed in the workplace. The challenge ahead for businesses across all sectors is to learn from and build on this track record”