National Apprenticeship Service

Anyone not wanting to attend university is often force-fed the idea that apprenticeships are the way forward. Nearly half a million people started an apprenticeship in the 2013/14 academic year, including, surprisingly, more than 80,000 people aged over 35...
Unfortunately, some of the negative assumptions about apprenticeships stem from older generations, parents and schools whose perceptions are based on the way that apprenticeships were in the past, before the National Apprenticeship Service was launched to support learners and help them to earn official qualifications.
As a professional consultancy advising and working with developers, contractors and architects we are directly impacted by skills and resource shortages within the environmental, construction and engineering sectors.
Law has traditionally been seen as a career path only accessible via the conventional University route, but that is changing. In 2013 one of the most exciting and dynamic changes for our business wasn't just a merger or new senior management but a new approach to recruitment with the appointment of the first Level 4 Legal Apprentice in the UK.
This year has been another significant year in the expansion of Apprenticeships in England. With more than two million Apprenticeship starts since 2010 and higher numbers of people on Apprenticeships than ever before, 2013 has been a triumph. It is therefore worthy of some reflection...
Getting good apprentices was becoming a challenge for Nissan (NMUK). In a fast-growing manufacturing environment, we needed to make sure that we could access the best there was - young people who would learn while contributing to our growth and development, and who would be part of the company going forward.
Throughout the Challenge the apprentices get the chance to improve skills that are much sought after in the workplace, gaining something personally while also helping their organisation by using the new skills they have learned in the workplace.
Having been an apprentice, I am now very aware that there are a considerable amount of people out there with a negative view of Apprenticeships - whether that is through a bad experience or through just hearing the ever-changing Chinese whispers that get thrown around regarding Apprenticeships. Trust me, the Apprenticeship experience is simply only a positive one.
Apprenticeships are not just about the education you receive via a training organisation, or the work experience through your job, but also about developing life skills. Being involved in community projects is a great way to develop these life skills and that is why we are highlighting this to the Deputy Prime Minister.
While it is encouraging that initiatives such as Tomorrow's Engineers Week and various new government policies are starting to address these issues - a lot of the problem goes much deeper - into perceptions of engineering and the modern reality of our industry.