U.K.: ‘Highly Skilled' Apprenticeship Program Exceeds Targets, Government Reports

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By Rick Vollmar

June 29—A government program to address the national skills crisis by sponsoring apprenticeships in highly skilled professions has “smashed its target,” according to a June 25 press release from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The 40-million-pound ($63 million) program was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in December 2013.

‘Key Part' of Economic Plan

“Since the start of the academic year 2013 to 2014, over 22,000 higher apprenticeships have already been supported,” besting the initial goal by 2,000, BIS said. “Supporting apprenticeships is a key part of the long-term economic plan to help create a highly skilled and productive workforce across the country.”

The apprenticeship program offers young people “the opportunity to gain the high-level skills required by employers through 12 months on the job experience at the same time as studying for a degree or higher education qualification,” BIS said. “Traineeships provide young people with work preparation training, English and maths and work experience to equip them for apprenticeships and sustainable employment.”

Overall, 2.3 million apprenticeships were created during the 2010-2015 parliamentary term, and the government is committed to the creation of an additional 3 million by 2020.

‘We Listened to Employers'

“We listened to what employers told us they needed and have invested in apprenticeships to ensure their workforce have the quality skills needed to grow the business,” Skills Minister Nick Boles said. “These figures show we are on course to create a modern and competitive workforce that boosts the country's productivity and prosperity.”

Representative of positive business response, “We understand the value apprentices can bring to a business and look to attract people with real potential,” Rolls-Royce Learning and Development Manager David Campbell said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com

The BIS press release is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/on-target-for-a-higher-skilled-workforce.

For more information on British HR law and regulation, see the U.K. primer.