From education to employment

John Hayes urges sector to push home Apprenticeship Week message

We are fast approaching a momentous week in the FE calendar. During Apprenticeship Week (February 7th – 11th) over 450 events will take place across the country to celebrate the achievements of the hundreds of thousands of apprentices who are learning nearly 200 different skilled trades. It is crucial that we use this week to really push home the message to potential apprentices and employers that Apprenticeships have many wide-reaching benefits for individuals and for businesses.

During my first nine months as Minister for Further Education & Skills I have met many outstanding apprentices, as well as a large number of excellent training providers and employers. And I look forward to meeting many more during Apprenticeships Week. Alongside the great achievements that I have seen, I have been struck by durability of Apprenticeships in our culture. Although Apprenticeships have certainly changed over the centuries their essential nature endures. They remain the most effective way of passing on complex practical skills from one generation to the next. We must ensure that they continue to adapt to the modern world’s changing training needs, while still retaining their fundamental character.

This Government is committed to improving and expanding the Apprenticeships offer. We are doing this because we know that they work. Apprenticeships help employers achieve the workforce they need to grow. They also help many people to build successful careers, which means they will not only earn more but lead more fulfilling lives.

Although times are tough and budgets are tight, we know that Apprenticeships are a sound investment in the country’s future. That is why, as soon as this Government came into office, we announced 50,000 additional adult places for the 2010-11 financial year. The budget for Apprenticeships will increase to over £1,400million in the 2011-12 financial year. That equates to funding for over 350,000 apprentices. Importantly, we have also freed the FE sector from unnecessary bureaucratic burdens and given providers and employers the flexibility to work together in a more productive way.

With the high-level of skills that apprentices acquire and all the benefits they bring to society, it is high time that Apprenticeships conferred the same high social status that has in recent years been unfairly limited to people with more academic qualifications. We must use Apprenticeship Week to start to redress the balance.

John Hayes is Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning


Read other FE News articles by John Hayes:

John Hayes: No iron curtain between FE and HE

Skills Minister John Hayes reflects on a busy time for FE

Skills Minister John Hayes unveils a new future for Further Education

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