Bekki Phillips Autumn Statement
Image Source: Rob Finney
Bekkip Phillips welcomes the £50m Apprenticeship boost

Member Article

In-Comm Training welcomes Government spotlight on Apprenticeships

Bekki Phillips, Chief Operating Officer of In-Comm Training, provides her thoughts on the Autumn Statement.

“After decades of being in the shadows of universities, it was refreshing to see vocational learning play such a prominent role in the Chancellor’s speech today.

The headline will no doubt be the £50m additional investment in pilots that encourage more apprenticeships into engineering and manufacturing.

This is music to our ears as a specialist provider to this sector and comes just a few weeks after we announced our record cohort intake, with 200 new apprentices recruited at our Aldridge and Telford academies. In reality, we had a further 40 vacancies at local employers, so the company demand is definitely there.

It was also pleasing to see an increase in wages for apprentices for their first year of training. This is significant and will mean that vocational learners will be further valued as members of the workforce rather than, what has traditionally happened, been regarded as cheap labour.

Hopefully, this will encourage youngsters to embark on an apprenticeship rather than seek employment in areas, such as fast food and retail – sectors that might offer immediate higher returns, but fewer long-term prospects.

If there was one thing missing from the skills announcement, it was the urgent need to take the training levy a step further, so that it goes beyond apprenticeships and fund qualifications and courses specific to industry needs.

These are niche courses, but vital if manufacturers are going to bridge the skills gap and tackle the need for emerging skills, such as robotics, automation, machine learning and augmented reality.

Finally, the Prime Minister mentioned in PMQs that the Government was interested in creating an Apprenticeship Education Secretary…yes please!“

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Russ Cockburn .

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