Charlotte Bosworth is director for skills and employment at OCR

OCR, the awarding body, was recently asked to appear as a witness to the Education Select Committee's inquiry into the support, regulation and management of traineeship and apprenticeship pathways in the UK. Charlotte Bosworth, Director of Skills and Employment at OCR, shares their response.

The subject of apprenticeships and traineeships has remained highly visible throughout 2014 as the political parties firm up policies ahead of next year's general election. It is clear from the raft of pledges, initiatives and targets that have hit the headlines that apprenticeships and vocational training remains a hot political topic, as we strive to tackle youth unemployment and provide the next generation of skilled workers for the workplace.

David Cameron has said a future Conservative Government would fund 3 million apprentice places in an effort to tackle youth unemployment. Ed Miliband stated that he wanted to see the same number of school leavers take an apprenticeship route as those choosing university education. While the Liberal Democrats shared plans to boost pay for thousands of apprentices via a single national minimum wage.

When studying the detail there has to date been precious little to differentiate the political parties over education policy, with each one in its own way articulating broadly similar views on apprenticeships, higher quality 16-18 education and a greater focus on higher-level skills. How this pans out as we move towards next May's election will be interesting, especially with an urgent need to provide more detail on how the various pledges will be put into action.

It is fair to say that OCR's commitment to vocational training and the value it delivers for young learners and employers is steadfast – especially when all decisions are made to benefit the young person. Our traineeship programme launched in 2013 is aptly demonstrating what can be achieved through a learner-centred approach. A prime example has been the Cambridge Traineeship pilot scheme developed in conjunction with the Kent Association of Training Organisations. It was designed to test the concept that such schemes only produce measurable results if the needs of the individual are addressed. I am delighted to see that many of the people who took part in the programme have subsequently gone on to be employed by their placements, secure full-time work elsewhere, or are taking up further education opportunities.

It is examples like this that informed our response to the Government's Select Committee as it was based upon actual experience of what works and does not. Fundamentally, we feel it is essential that the range of qualifications is flexible, fit for purpose and stimulating for learners, whilst also taking into account the importance of new technologies and developments which are relevant for today's workplace.

We shared our insight with the committee and summarised our proposals in five key areas in what could be termed OCR's 'Agenda for Change'. We want to make traineeship and apprenticeship initiatives relevant and attractive to learners and employers, as well as making them success-based for all stakeholders and cost effective for the public purse. Our recommendations, which have been developed and tested at the sharp end, and articulated face-to-face when we met the committee, can be broadly summarised as follows:

1.  OCR believes that the Government should seek to make traineeships more flexible through the creation of bite-sized units, whilst also providing funding according to progression.

2.  Traineeships should be actively promoted within schools as a 'stepping stone' into employment, further education or apprenticeships.

3.  Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) should be a key player in the development of strategies for traineeships within local areas through the development of a 'Skills and Employment Board'.

4.  Clear, high-quality and concise information needs to be made easily available to young people so that they can access and better understand the options before them as they consider future career or learning pathways.

5.  Incentivising employers should be considered to ensure the number of traineeships on offer increases and that organisations – both large and small - see the benefit of supporting and participating in programmes.

Whatever happens on May 7th next year, it is vital that the right approach to traineeships is developed by Government and that it is sustainable and has the interests of both the learner and the employer at its heart. We await with interest the findings of the Select committee in the short-term, as well as the detailed plans of the political parties as the countdown to the election begins in earnest.

We hope that the insight and recommendations we contributed, as well as our passionate belief in the value of appropriate vocational training, will assist those having to make important strategic decisions that will shape the success of traineeship and apprenticeship outcomes in this country for years to come.

Charlotte Bosworth is director for skills and employment at OCR, the awarding body

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Peter has published a new article: EDHEC and EURECOM Sign Strategic Alliance yesterday
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

Women Empowerment: How Far Have We Come in Recent Years?: Here in the UK, the past year has been difficult for ever… https://t.co/TTsstqnyOy
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page