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QA launches IT School Outreach Programme

Research conducted by the apprenticeship provider found that 80% of students know little or nothing about IT and professional apprenticeships. Once informed, however, 74% of secondary school children “would consider” the option as an alternative to university.

Available to schools across the UK, QA is appointing a national team of school liaison ambassadors, who will go into schools to help careers advisors and teachers explain the benefits of IT apprenticeships, and the future career opportunities the IT sector has to offer.

“The research we conducted with school students earlier this year taught us that apprenticeships have become a back-up plan for most. Their Plan B,” said Kavneet Sandhu, head of Schools Outreach.

“Our schools engagement initiative looks to encourage young adults to consider the potential benefits of apprenticeships. By informing students of all of their options, and giving a clear and concise view of all of these routes’ pros and cons, we want to ensure they can make better-informed decisions. We hope that for many this will mean a shift - with an apprenticeship becoming their plan A rather than their plan B.”

In the most recent budget, George Osborne announced cuts to university maintenance grants, whilst also pledging to have three million new apprentices by 2020. QA, therefore, believe that the government is backing apprenticeships as a way to end youth employment. The announcement around the apprenticeship levy, which means that employers will have to pay a percentage of their salary bill towards training new apprentices, shows, according to QA, that it is a target the government is taking very seriously.

All these factors, QA suggest, mean that the demand for apprentices is going to grow, and if students’ understanding of apprenticeships is not tackled, then there will be a glut of jobs and no one wanting to fill them. For this reason, QA is pushing its schools’ outreach programme across the UK, so that the next generation are equipped with full knowledge of the career opportunities available within the tech sector.

“Schools and parents urgently need to think again about the advantages and potential of apprenticeships for all school-age students,” added Sandhu. “Many traditional ideas about career success are now out-dated. Apprenticeships offer a proven and structured first step into the working world, offering pay, qualifications and education, as well as the developing the crucial real world experience many employers seek out in candidates.”

QA have placed 8,000 apprentices in the space of five years. The company plans to reach the milestone of 10,000 in the next year with the launch of their 10KinTech campaign, an initiative that has already galvanised the support of EE, Microsoft and notgoingtouni.com.

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