From education to employment

The Search is On as the LSC Call for Nominations

The quest for the outstanding Apprentice and Employer for 2006 has begun, it was announced by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

Nominations are being sought from across the Further Education sector for employers who have been exceptional at developing the skills of young people through Apprenticeships. The hunt for 2006’s top apprentices who have contributed to their workplaces and exceeded expectations has also been initiated.

Third Such Search

The launch of the Apprenticeship Awards for 2006 were launched by the Minister responsible for Skills, Phil Hope MP, who will also take this opportunity to unveil an exhibition of photography. This exhibition, entitled The Age of the Apprentice and held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, is a fitting testimony to both the historical value of Apprenticeships and celebrates their evolution into a high-tech twenty-first century career option.

This comes at a time when there are more than 200 different Apprenticeships spanning 80 sectors of industry available. The Awards will be the third such recognition held by the LSC to showcase the outstanding contributions and achievements of apprentices and employers who are successfully using Apprenticeships to improve their business performance and tackle the skills shortages that are so often referred to.

Phil Hope Feels Honoured to Launch Exhibition and Awards

The Minister was delighted to be able to attend this event, and said: “It is an honour to open this exhibition that shows how Apprenticeships have evolved from their conception centuries ago, to the broad range of Apprenticeships, spanning 80 sectors of industry that are available today.

“As I said at the 2005 Awards ceremony in June,” he continued, demonstrating his dedication to the sector, “todays Apprenticeships provide wonderful opportunities for young people and employers alike. Young people have an opportunity to learn while they earn and to access excellent vocational training and build sustainable careers.”

He also spoke of the valuable work being done by employers in this regard, saying: “Employers are helped to build a skilled workforce, equipped with the knowledge and experience they need to compete and stay ahead in the global economy. The Apprenticeship Awards allow us to reward these employers and young people for their achievements and their contribution to the economy.”

The Categories

For the actual Awards, the employers will be entered in one of four categories, depending on the scale and size of the company. These are Micro (for 1-9 employees), Small (10-49 employees), Medium (50-249 employees) and Large (250+ employees). They are assessed on the basis of a number of criteria, including implementation of the Apprenticeship programme, providing a clear demonstration of the way Apprenticeships have benefited their business and the level of support provided to their apprentices.

There will also be five awards for Apprentices, including Apprentice of the Year. In a further innovation, for the first time in 2006 there will be a Young Apprentice of the Year award, following the introduction of Young Apprenticeships in 2004 for those aged 14 to 16, in full time education.

LSC and City and Guilds Pleased at Quality

Stephen Gardner, Director of Work Based Learning at the LSC, also spoke of the importance of the event, saying: “Today’s exhibition is the perfect way to launch the 2006 Apprenticeship Awards, as it highlights that gone are the days when apprentices “belonged” to their master, in contrast todays apprentices are valued members of the workforce whose skills, thoughts and ideas are contributing directly to their employers” success.

He went on to point out the high levels of attainment shown by the Awards in 2004 and 2005, saying: “The quality of entries from both apprentices and employers for the 2004 and 2005 Awards were outstanding, we received over 1,000 entries in 2005 alone and look forward to beating that in 2006. The Awards provide us with the opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution businesses are making to raise skill levels, and improve productivity and competitiveness nationally.”

The Awards are being sponsored by City & Guilds, the leading UK awarding body for work related qualifications. Chris Humphries, Director General of City and Guilds, explained why the organisation is backing the Awards, saying: “We are delighted to sponsor the Awards for the second year running. As well as applauding individual and employer successes, these Awards highlight the real economic benefits that apprenticeships have to offer.”

To enter the Awards, or for more information, please call the Awards helpline on 0800 019 2083, or alternatively visit the website by clicking here. The deadline for entries is the 24th of February,2006.

Jethro Marsh

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