There are thousands of opportunities out there for people of all ages and stages of their working lives – the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education explains the options…
Covid-19 has placed huge strain on apprentices, employers and training providers, but they are still achieving incredible things and helping to launch thousands of rewarding and lucrative careers.
Apprenticeships provide fantastic opportunities to upskill and reskill and are for people of all ages and at all different stages in their working lives. They could, for example, work for young people looking for their first job, or existing employees who need new skills to push on in their careers.
What apprenticeship opportunities are out there?
There are now about 600 apprenticeships available, serving training needs right across the economy. Apprenticeships can fill skills gaps right across an organisation. For example, they cover IT support, legal, finance and accounting, marketing, business and administration.
Apprenticeships are also available at all levels, from entry level at level 2 all the way through to levels 6 and 7, equivalent to degree level.
You can read about every available apprenticeship on the Institute’s website.
How are apprenticeships developed?
All apprenticeships are now designed and developed by employers as part of employer groups that work with the Institute to fill gaps in learning and skills in their sectors. The training requirements have also been set out by employers, which is the best way to ensure every apprenticeship delivers what employers really need and produces employable apprentices.
This employer-led approach has driven up quality including through the introduction of end point assessments which require apprentices to prove that they have developed the right knowledge, skills and behaviours. High-quality apprenticeships will play a key role in getting the economy back on its feet post-pandemic.
What other qualifications are out there that fit with apprenticeships?
The Institute has been working alongside employers to develop and implement T-levels. These are two-year technical qualifications designed to give students the skills that industry needs. They bring classroom learning and an extended industry placement together.
T-levels provide a mixture of technical knowledge and skills specific to their chosen industry or occupation, an industry placement of at least 45 days in their chosen industry or occupation and relevant maths, English and digital skills.
They sit alongside apprenticeships as one of three major options at level 3, for those who wish to study and train for a specific occupation, and A-levels for students who wish to continue academic education.
The Institute is also working on a new quality mark for higher technical qualifications at levels 4 and 5. This mark will help employers, training providers and learners be confident that the training received is of the right standard.
Covid-19 and its effect on apprenticeships
There is no denying that the pandemic has had a massive impact on the continued progression of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are also jobs and so, for instance, in sectors such as hospitality, there has been a big impact. However, in areas such as healthcare the numbers have of course increased.
We have been doing everything we can at the Institute to support apprentices through this difficult time. We introduced a number of flexibilities that have helped apprentices complete their final assessment virtually or in other ways, allowing them to pass their apprenticeship.
These flexibilities are still in place and we announced earlier this year that they will remain in place until at least the end of August. There are now well over 100 flexibilities for different apprenticeships and we are still creating more where they are needed.
It is also important to recognise that apprenticeships are here to stay. The Government is committed to the programme, which has cross-party support. The Prime Minister and Department for Education have mapped out a crucial role for apprenticeships in supporting the nation’s recovery when the time comes through the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Skills for Jobs white paper.
Are apprenticeships still available? Where can you look for one?
Yes, there are still thousands of apprenticeship opportunities out there. If you are looking to apply for an apprenticeship, visit the Find an Apprenticeship website, filter to the area you want and take a look at all of the apprenticeships that are on offer close to you.
Employers and training providers have also been incredibly creative through their work with the Institute to develop remote learning and assessment solutions that are allowing apprentices to thrive and complete their training through lockdown.
The National Apprenticeship Service provides wide-ranging advice and support for employers considering taking on apprentices. They can help you recruit the best apprentices and identify the right training provider for their off-the-job training.