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Employer Apprenticeship Group supports Holt recommendations and calls for greater emphasis on the quality of advice and guidance offered to young people.
The Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network (AAN), an independent group of senior business leaders committed to increasing the numbers of apprentices, broadly welcomes the recommendations of the recently published Holt review, Making Apprenticeships More Accessible to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, and calls on Government to do more to ensure that young people at school receive independent advice and guidance (IAG) on all of their options. “The Review’s findings and recommendations support many of our long held views on why SMEs are reluctant to invest in Apprenticeships, particularly the call for improved independent information, advice and guidance for young people while they are at school and making important decisions that will affect their futures,” says Sir Roy Gardner, AAN Chairman and Chairman of Compass Plc. “We have highlighted our concerns about the inadequacies of IAG in schools with Ministers over a number of years. I agree that businesses have a role to play in encouraging young people into Apprenticeships and some of the larger organisations have very effective school engagement programmes. But I believe that the ultimate responsibility for the dissemination of independent, effective advice and guidance lies with head teachers, careers advisors and government,” he said.
He continued, “Many of our members have encountered instances where young people are not only being denied information about vocational learning but are actively discouraged from taking up Apprenticeships or other vocational options. I believe that we have a lot to learn about good IAG from other European countries which have the most successful Apprenticeship systems, including Austria, Germany and Switzerland. These countries also had very effective IAG which included allocating dedicated curriculum time to careers guidance (32 lessons per year in Austria), all teachers having some training in careers education, individual fact to face sessions, meetings with parents, application tests and continued support after leaving school.”
AAN member Stuart Britton, Managing Director of RDL Corporation, a medium sized recruitment agency, said, “We have recruited apprentices for some years now and have seen the benefits that our apprentices have brought to our bottom line. While I welcome the call for clearer information and better training provision, the best way for small businesses to find out more is to take the plunge and see that Apprenticeships work for any business, regardless of its size.” Sir Roy concluded, “Sadly, as a society we continue to undervalue vocational education and consider it a second class option rather than an equal route into a professional career which can progress to higher education and we really need to change our perception to value learning, particularly that which takes place in the workplace and builds the skills we desperately need to revitalise and grow our economy.”