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“KEEP BRITAIN TRAINING” 120,000 APPRENTICESHIPS COULD GO AS A DIRECT RESULT OF COVID-19

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SKILLS FEDERATION LAUNCHES “KEEP BRITAIN TRAINING” CAMPAIGN AND CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION TO SUPPORT #APPRENTICES IN THE UK 

The Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (FISSS) has launched a campaign to “Keep Britain Training” today, 23 April, 2020, along with a report with recommendations on how to mitigate the disastrous effects of Covid-19 on a sector that could potentially result in the loss of 120,000 apprenticeships in the UK.

The report warns that while academic routes can be a safe way to weather an economic storm and recruitment can be counter-cyclical, the same cannot be said for apprenticeships. In a downturn, companies cut training budgets and freeze recruitment. The Federation estimates a cumulative loss of 119,077 apprenticeship starts in the 12 months from March 2020 to February 2021 as a result of the pandemic.

The Federation is recommending provision of appropriate technology to support apprentices in line with the scheme launched by the DfE this week to support academic students; consideration of additional central funding to encourage employers to stick with their current and future training programmes and a delay to the cut-off period for trainees starting Framework apprenticeships.

The report notes that apprenticeships are more disrupted by the lockdown than other parts of the education system and workforce. Labour force survey data shows that 8.3% of apprentices occasionally work from home. The youngest workers and those with the least qualifications are the least likely to work from home. Young workers (16-24-year-olds) make up 12% of employment, but 54.3% of apprentice starts compared to 25.3% of non-apprentice workers.

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Chief Executive Officer Matt Lambert said:

“The training sector faces unique challenges. While in the good times the marriage of work and learning is a powerful tool for skills development, in the unprecedented era of COVID-19, this has become a potential barrier to continuing training.

“We must work tirelessly to remove barriers to continuity, be they administrative or technological to keep Britain training. This means ensuring apprentices have the right tech to continue learning;. it means making sure training providers and employers are confident about finances and can continue to develop a pipeline of talent, and it means ensuring young people get careers advice and guidance so that we can avoid a lost generation. When the crisis is over, we will need to rebuild the economy and skills will play a central role We must all play our part to keep Britain training.”

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