From education to employment

LSC apprenticeship director tells ALP conference delegates that vacancy matching system and skills c

A single vacancy matching system to help young people access apprenticeships is to be introduced next year. Speaking at the ALP autumn conference, Stephen Gardner, director of apprenticeships at the LSC confirmed that the system, which will work in a similar way to the university matching system UCAS, will be introduced in 2008.

The system will be a single point of reference for young people to see all vacancies available in their area. Similar trials have already been running in the South East and South West regions.

“It is important that we continue to work closely with training providers,” said Mr Gardner, “We understand the fears some providers might have of losing control of established recruitment processes and we want to allay those fears. The vacancy matching system is a vital part of delivery entitlement”

Graham Hoyle, chief executive of ALP said that the system faced huge challenges as few companies presently advertise apprenticeships. “A clearing house system is fine if you have vacancies but at present the only companies who advertise apprenticeships are the large bluechips.

“We need to move to a position where apprenticeships are the main form of recruitment and we”ve not reached that in many places yet. So while we welcome the new system I think it will be a real challenge.”

Stephen Gardner also unveiled plans to run expert classes in skills for apprentices with the aim of promoting skills training and encouraging participation in skills competition.

Highlighting the UK team who are heading out to Japan to take part in the World Skills competition next month, Mr Gardner said: “We want to see more people competing in skills competitions. Competition brings about encouragement and a buzz; competing in skills competitions is enjoyable and rewarding and not just for the winners.”

The classes will run from January until June next year in all nine LSC regions across 40 sectors, with the aim of improving the skills of up to 5,000 young people.

Rosie Spowart

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