From education to employment

New funding to improve apprenticeship applications


A £450,000 fund has been created by the National Apprenticeship Service for the improvement of apprenticeship applications.

The Apprenticeship Application Support Fund, which will be managed by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), provides an opportunity for training organisations from around the UK to bid for sums of this money, advisably £25,000 or above, in order to create projects which will help improve the apprenticeship applications of young people.

The projects, for students aged between 16 and 20 who have failed to get onto the government’s Apprenticeship Vacancy (AV) service, will function primarily for the improvement of those using the AV system for apprenticeship applications, however, wider projects will also be considered.

Strong contenders for project funding will be those who present projects which focus on the applications of hard to reach and disengaged groups of learners, and look to improve the engagement of new employers.

Paul Warner, AELP’s director of employment and skills, said: “It is important to recognise that solutions will not be ‘one size fits all’, and therefore we are keen to receive bids which encourage new ideas and new approaches. In particular we would be interested to look at how under-represented groups in apprenticeships could be better supported in the application process.”

The funding for such a venture has come at a time when apprenticeships, because of their increasing popularity and publicity from the current government, have become highly sought after and thus extremely competitive. Apprenticeship services have consequently become far more selective, making the application process for candidates an important and essential opportunity in which to shine.

The fact that some candidates for apprenticeships lack the creative written skills in order to apply for such positions might lead some to believe that the problem is not perhaps the application, but rather the education of the individual. Applications provide a very typical sorting process, which is experienced throughout the working life, and funding for application improvement is not necessarily going to disguise the overall lack of linguistic competence, which employers evidently require from an application.

However, the push for apprenticeships is still a relatively new venture, and  potential candidates are likely generally uninformed about the application requirements of different companies. This means skills such as application writing and other admission procedures present a signifiant challenge.  It is often the lack of expertise in the application process that proves to be the downfall of otherwise vocationally skilled candidates. The Apprenticeship Application Support fund hopes to begin the search for innovative ways to help students with this recurring problem.

In light of this project, bidders must be able to demonstrate a project outline that addresses this problem and supports students in order to present their skills and abilities in the most effective way.

The AELP states that projects looking for funding must be able to optimise information and advice services available to those using the AV system to apply, sustain diversity agendas within apprenticeships by improving the access of support services and their development for disability groups, create innovative and creative solutions to applications by addressing the specific problems pertaining to application failure, and finally, bidders must look towards creating a project which can be sustained after grant funding has ceased.

With an entry deadline of 1 October, and an expected success rate of just 8 to 10 bids, the implementation of the projects is set to take place the following month, and the efficacy of which will be reviewed as soon as June next year.

Daisy Atkinson

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