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Condition of Use: CFA to be credited as source

Condition of Use: CFA to be credited as source

63.5% increase in apprenticeship take up paves the way for CFA Higher Apprenticeship Round Table Discussion at House of Commons

The concept of earning and learning has proved extremely popular in the UK with the take up of apprenticeships increasing year on year from 239,900 in 2008/09 to 279,700 in 2009/10 and reaching an impressive 457,200 during 2010/11. At a recent Round Table Discussion at the House of Commons, hosted by Mr. Iain Stewart MP on behalf of the CFA, who certificate 27% of all apprenticeships, industry leaders, politicians, professional bodies and employers discussed how Higher Apprenticeships can contribute to professional development in the UK and transform business performance, as well as to support their further development.

The opening address was given by Mr. David Willetts, MP for Havant and Minister of State for Universities and Science, at which he provided an update on Government Policy on Higher Apprenticeships. “Higher apprenticeships offer new pathways to careers for young people with a desire to pursue rigorous, higher level training. We are raising the status of apprenticeships and increasing the pool of talent available, which is critical to the economic recovery of the UK.”

Attending the Round Table Discussion were representatives from the following organisations:- 157 Group, Association for Project Management (APM), BAe Systems, British Printing Industries Federation , BT, Cassidian, Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), CFA, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Greenwich University, Institute of Administrative Management (IAM), Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX), National Apprenticeship Service, Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), Recruitment Employment Confederation (REC), and Serle Court.

Discussion took place among the 24 attendees about how business related Higher Apprenticeships can transform employer, recruitment and business performance, and the task of raising their profile so that they can take their place alongside higher education. Progression into and from business related Higher Apprenticeships was also discussed along with support for them by professional bodies and employer representative organisations. Finally, the group talked about overcoming any barriers in using Higher Apprenticeships as an effective tool for the development of higher level skills.

Charles Elvin, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Leadership & Management said of the new scheme “Higher Level Apprenticeships in leadership and management offer an exciting way for employers of all sizes to recruit, develop and retain the people who will be their future leaders. The support that the Government has been giving the CFA has been critical in making Apprenticeships an increasingly popular route into well paid employment across a wide range of occupational areas. ILM has been a strong advocate of Higher Level Apprenticeships in leadership and management, and is working with a number of employers and training providers to develop innovative programmes that meet their need for really effective, highly skilled employees”.

Kathy Woodward of the British Printing Industries Federation added “The BPIF fully supports the growing understanding of the benefits of higher level apprenticeships and the important role that they are able to play in developing both employer organisations and the individuals undertaking the qualifications. Continuous improvement is at the heart of the Print and Media companies that make up our membership and apprenticeships are an excellent way to support both business development and change management”.

Speaking on behalf of the Association for Project Management, Chief Executive, Andrew Bragg said “Project management aspires to be a highly inclusive profession, and the Association for Project Management is proud of this collaborative venture with CFA to create new entry routes into it – project management has come of age as a profession and through this initiative we intend to overcome some of the rigidities associated with some traditional entry routes whilst fully upholding their rigour.”

Some points of interest from the morning’s Higher Apprenticeship Round Table meeting included the announcement of the CIPD’s recent launch of an Apprenticeship pack for employers. “We need to raise employer awareness of higher apprenticeships as a route into professions, to highlight how an organisation can address its long-term skills needs. Providing employers with vital support to both engage with and develop high quality apprenticeships should help achieve this” said Katerina Rudiger, Skills Policy Adviser, CIPD.

Higher Apprentice attendee, Laura McNulty, outlined some of the management and customer service skills she has developed under the scheme, and is considering taking a full honours degree after graduating from her higher apprenticeship in contact centre management later this year.

“The experiences I have gained from the higher apprenticeship have enabled me to gain an insight in the business as a whole whilst allowing me to continue my further education” said Laura. Her success story clearly demonstrates the need for more information, advice and guidance on apprenticeships being available in schools

Representatives from BT and BAe Systems discussed the advantages of Higher Apprenticeships over graduate work placement routes, claiming that they provided a good foundation for young people to earn as they learn, encouraging greater staff loyalty and commitment in the longer term. “The BAe Systems Project Control Foundation Scheme is seen as a model which could fit the higher apprenticeship scheme. It is hoped that other organisations will take advantage of this great opportunity to sponsor higher apprentices to gain professional experience along with academic qualifications” said Bernard Kellett, Project Management, Learning and Capability Development Manager, BAe Systems. Members of both organisations also talked about how larger company employers could do more to champion the use of apprentices within their supply chains, encompassing more small/medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Max Reynolds of BT Group Learning Operations added “BT actively encourages Small & Medium Enterprises to engage in apprenticeship employment, particularly in the IT and Telecom sectors. We are working to support ITP (Institute of Telecom Professionals) as they seek to develop a programme, and with e-Skills UK, as part of the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF) project”.

The University of Greenwich talked about how higher education establishments can work with CFA and employers in a joined manner to encourage young people into apprenticeships, and acknowledged the need to change people’s views to show that Higher Apprenticeships actually offer professional business skills, as well as those linked to traditional trades. They provide a wealth of transferable skills across all sectors which are important to today’s economy. "It is essential that Higher Apprenticeship programmes are demand led and this requires consultation with employers at every stage of development.  Higher Education must also work with Professional Associations to ensure that work based learning is a valued and genuine alternative route to the professions" said Lindsay Perrin of the Centre for Work Based Learning, Partnership Division, University of Greenwich.

To date the initiative for introducing Higher Apprenticeships has received good support from the business community and provides an extension to the existing provision of apprenticeships available. Higher Apprenticeship Frameworks are currently available in the following business disciplines:- Accounting, Business and Administration, Contact Centre Operations, Engineering and Technology, Food and Drink, IT, Software, Web & Telecoms, Financial Advice, Leadership and Management. Higher Apprenticeships are also being developed in Human Resource Management, Innovation and Growth, Project Management and Public Relations and will be available in the Autumn of 2012.

Jenny Hewell, CFA Chief Executive said, “The engagement and participation of so many employers and professional bodies in the development and promotion of Higher Apprenticeships is fantastic. We are working in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Association for Project Management on the development of two very exciting Higher Apprenticeships, which we are confident will have a major impact in HR and project management, both critical contributors to business success across the UK”.

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