Apprenticeships are a long established way of developing new and existing talent entering the workplace, however more often than not they are accessible only to existing, time served, employees.

In the academic year 2019/20, Wiltshire saw 740 higher and degree level apprenticeship starts, a year on year increase. However only a very small number were advertised to new entrants using the Find an Apprenticeship service, or the early careers pages used by some employers. Of these 740 starts, 70% (520) were by those aged 25 and older.

Higher and Degree level apprenticeships could help more young people and disadvantaged adults, develop the higher-level skills demanded by the labour market, support their career progression, and provide greater access to work-based training. Apprenticeships are fully funded at the point of entry, through use of the Apprenticeship Levy, co-investment by the government, or fully funded if they meet certain criteria, therefore reducing the financial burden experienced by those who opt for a more traditional academic route.

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director for Policy and Research at the Learning and Work Institute published Level 4 Apprenticeships and above – we need to widen access to level up

The report highlights a range of measures, suggested by employers and apprentices, that could better enable the apprenticeship programme to support social mobility, including:

  • Greater financial support for SMEs to overcome the barriers associated with offering higher-level apprenticeships.
  • Better promotion of higher-level apprenticeships, to highlight the financial and career-related benefits, and to tackle misconceptions about apprenticeships being only available at lower levels.
  • Encouragement and practical support for employers in diversifying the profile of their higher-level apprentices, and their workforce more generally.
  • Ensuring clear progression routes from lower-level apprenticeships are in place, with information and support to help apprentices from diverse backgrounds to progress.

If you are an employer that offers higher and degree level apprenticeships to new entrants, particularity those leaving education, or those looking to retrain please let us know, likewise if you would like support in establishing a programme, or providing progression routes for existing apprentices drop us a line workwilts@wiltshire.gov.uk

 

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