The Employer Skills Survey, published in January this year, reported that 23% of unfilled job vacancies relate to skills shortages. In response to the news, AELP commented that only 86% of employers think their workforce is fully trained and concluded that Apprenticeships could make a major impact in tackling this [skills shortage] challenge.

So if this is the case, why do so many providers have unfilled Apprenticeship vacancies and what can be done to address this?

Of course there can be many reasons for unfilled vacancies such as poor quality, badly worded adverts, low rates of pay, transport links, etc. Some of these reasons, however, should be easy to address by the provider working with the employer so why aren’t they? In many cases it’s because providers seem to focus on the candidate first and the Apprenticeship vacancy second. If you have enough vacancies on your books then you should be able to attract at least some candidates and it’s okay if you don’t fill all vacancies, as long as you fill some – after all, some income is better than none, isn’t it?

This approach may have been Ok in the past but in a world where power is shifting towards the employer then I suspect the days are numbered for this approach. Why?

First, all Apprenticeship providers should be offering employers an effective recruitment service. This includes challenging unrealistic employer expectations about wage rates and about the job itself. An apprentice should not be seen by anyone as a ‘cheap option’ and I would question the value in working with employers who choose to see Apprenticeships that way. Of course there's a risk that you might lose some vacancies, but those vacancies would probably have been hard to fill anyway and subject to low success rates. Far better, therefore, to gain a reputation for managing Apprenticeship vacancies efficiently and effectively.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, it’s also about reputation with learners. There are plenty of Apprenticeship providers to choose from and good learners vote with their feet. If a provider is advertising a range of good, realistic Apprenticeships they will attract applicants. Attract a large enough pool of applicants and the provider will have a better ‘offer’ to prospective employers. And that’s why I am sometimes surprised by the number of FE Colleges who advertise a decent range of Apprenticeship vacancies but who hardly ever look at the students who are studying vocational qualifications in their own College.

So what’s the real cost of unfilled Apprenticeship vacancies? To the provider, yes, of course it’s lost income but more importantly it is lost reputation – both with employers and prospective learners – and it’s lost growth potential. But to the economy? It’s unfilled employer vacancies, lost productivity, an aging workforce, a return to high youth unemployment and lost skills.  

Tom Millar is Managing Director of The REED NCFE Partnership. www.reed-ncfe.org.uk

 

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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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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