Last updated: 14.03.13

Skills minister urges employers to deliver high-level training

The government's skills minister Matthew Hancock has urged employers and training providers to create new opportunities for young people by rolling out higher apprenticeships.

According to the politician, the nation's prosperity depends on having a skilled workforce that demonstrates world-beating service and rolls out first-class products.

He spoke of parliament's decision to generate apprenticeships at degree level and above and said this is sending a clear signal that practical learning is a "viable route to the professions".

"Apprenticeships deliver and offer the ideal opportunity for ambitious young people and adults to get ahead while earning a wage - and for employers to recruit the brightest and best recruits," the MP added.

Mr Hancock welcomed the creation of the first graduate level higher apprenticeships in various sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, commercial airline piloting and professional development for work-based learning practitioners.

The government has also approved a new framework for developing training in services like accountancy, tax and auditing, while it has made changes to the standard - the Specification of Apprentices Standards for England - to include level six and seven apprenticeships that are equivalent to bachelors and masters degrees.

To show his support for the training, Mr Hancock is planning to take part in a job swap with apprentice champion of the year Jenny Westworth, who has completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in Aerospace Engineering with BAE System. Employers including British Airways are also expected to hire graduate apprentices this year.

Ms Westworth stated her placement was the "best possible career choice I could have made", as it allowed her to find out her strengths and weakness before making a firm decision about what she wanted to do.

She also said apprenticeships stand out in that they offer people hands-on experience, remarking: "Employers give you a high level of responsibility whilst you're learning on the job, which means you develop skills very quickly."

Meanwhile, National Apprenticeship Week kicked off on Monday (March 11th) and is celebrating the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals and the British economy.