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“Front-Loaded Apprenticeships” launched to plug digital skills gap

students on computer

Leading digital training provider QA has today launched a new game-changing approach to apprenticeships to address chronic tech skills shortages across the economy.

QA’s new “Front-Loaded Apprenticeships” will deliver 70% of the practical content within the first 10 weeks of a 14-month qualification via an intensive skills bootcamp. This compares to traditional apprenticeships delivering practical content throughout a programme.

A major benefit of the new approach is that candidates will be able to acquire applicable skills in new technologies that are rapidly evolving. This helps circumvent the current process for developing new apprenticeships, which is often lengthy and struggles to keep pace with technological change.

Piloted with BAE Systems and developed in reaction to feedback from many businesses that existing funding arrangements like the apprenticeship levy are cumbersome and inflexible, the new front-loaded apprenticeships not only focus on rapid skills acquisition but also on personalising training to maximise the learner’s individual development and job role.

Demand for vital tech skills in the UK is now vastly outstripping supply with more businesses than ever digitising their operations, fuelled in part by the Covid-19 pandemic prompting a rapid increase in businesses moving online.

Today’s announcement is part of a wider shake up of skills delivery being looked at by QA, focused on better support of business demand for digital and technology skills and widening the talent pipeline by creating accessible pathways to tech careers for diverse groups of people.

Darren Bance, Chief Operating Officer at QA, said:

“Technology is no longer a sector but rather a critical component that runs across almost every business, creating an explosion in demand for skills that are essential to productivity and economic growth. Solving this challenge requires a radical solution. Front-loaded apprenticeships build on the standard apprenticeship model to deliver skills faster, while integrating other vital skills businesses need to get the most from their hires.”

Robert West, Head of Education and Skills at the CBI, commented:

“This initiative provides a welcome opportunity to drive the digital skills agenda forwards and offers employers a useful way to overcome some of their own digital skills challenges.”

Anthony Brown, Future Talent Manager at BAE Systems, added:

“QA’s front-loaded apprenticeships provide excellent foundation training at the start of the programme allowing for accelerated development of key competencies. We see this as a key enabler to support apprentices in making the transition into the workplace and start working and delivering on projects.”

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