Thursday, 29 May 2014

Reintroducing the apprenticeship system in the UK

Germany has been a model for the apprenticeship system for some time now:
Dual education system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Although there are fears that 'too many young people are going into university':

Around 500,000 people started a university degree in 2013, up from 360,000 in 2005.
Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), warned in February that this trend had to be reversed. “The consequences to Germany's economy will be damaging, if the trend to study at any cost is not stopped,” he said.

Apprenticeship numbers hit record low - The Local

Interestingly, it is the Chambers of Commerce in Germany who largely steer the apprenticeship system:

In 1969, a law (the Berufsbildungsgesetz) was passed which regulated and unified the vocational training system and codified the shared responsibility of the state, the unions, associations and the chambers of trade and industry. The dual system was successful in both parts of the divided Germany.
The precise skills and theory taught on German apprenticeships are strictly regulated. The employer is responsible for the entire education programme coordinated by the German chamber of commerce.
Someone who has not taken this apprenticeship or did not pass the final examinations at the chamber of industry and commerce is not allowed to call himself an Industriekaufmann. Most job titles are legally standardized and restricted.

Apprenticeship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Whereas in Britain, there is currently a lot of discussion going on as to who should be responsible for what as a 'modern' apprenticeship system emerges:

Apprentice funding plans risk wrecking training system
Proposals intended to improve apprenticeships could see small companies abandon the system as they can't face upfront costs of paying for training

Alan Tovey, Jobs Editor 24 Apr 2014

A shake-up aimed at improving apprenticeships by giving employers more control over what their trainee staff learn risks wrecking the system altogether, according to an industry body.

Government proposals for employers to pay training costs and then claim them back through the PAYE tax system would see many small firms give up on taking on apprentices as their balance sheets could not stand the burden, according to the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).

The association was shocked by the responses after it asked its 3,000-plus members for their thoughts on the Government’s proposals, with 94pc of those who replied saying they would cut down or even stop taking on apprentices because of the changes.

Di Johnson, ECA skills ambassador and director of Eric Johnson of Northwich, which has been training apprentice electricians for nearly 70 years, said: “The system used to be simple, we identified who we wanted to take on, paid their wages and training organisations did the rest.

“Under the new plans we will have to source the apprentices, then find the organisations to train them, quality check them, negotiate a price and then try to claim it back. 
For small firms who might only have one or two apprentices, they are never going to be able to negotiate a decent price or go through all the hassle.”

The proposals – which are out for consultation until May 1 – are intended to make apprenticeships a “joint investment” between apprentices, employers and the Government, according to the consultation document. The Government, which is pushing apprenticeships as an alternative to university, hopes that by requiring employers to “co-invest” they will be incentivised to find higher quality training at a more competitive price.

Apprentice funding plans risk wrecking training system - Telegraph 

And in response, in the letters page of the Telegraph, several captains of industry showed commitment to the apprenticeship:

Employers need to control the funds to make apprenticeships useful
Apprenticeships offer young people a way into well-paid jobs

6:58AM BST 05 May 2014


SIR – The Government’s plans to change apprenticeship funding “risk wrecking the training system”, reports Alan Tovey, your Jobs Editor. As business leaders, entrepreneurs and their representatives we know that improving apprenticeships is in all our interests.

Apprenticeships build the country’s skills base, support industries and create opportunities for young people leading to well-paid jobs. The proposed reforms are a welcome step towards a skills system with the needs of employers at its heart.

Placing employers in control of the design, delivery and funding of apprenticeships is essential. Through the current reform programme, employers have demonstrated leadership, creating a set of rigorous standards for a wide variety of highly skilled occupations.

Control over funding would give us the opportunity to work directly with training providers and build relationships which allow us to design apprenticeships which are more relevant to the needs of the British economy.

A simple, proportionate government contribution to each apprenticeship is a welcome step forward, as the current arrangements have more than 100 possible funding rates, and lack transparency to the employer and apprentice.

The Government has been consulting on the detail of how these changes will be delivered. It is vital they get this right, especially for smaller businesses.

We encourage all businesses to stay involved in this process to ensure that we can realise the goal of world-class apprenticeships designed and led by employers themselves.

Sir Charlie Mayfield
Chairman, John Lewis Partnership and Chairman, UK Commission for Employment and Skills...

Employers need to control the funds to make apprenticeships useful - Telegraph

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