From education to employment

Keynote speech provides positive vision for green-led recovery

The chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) provided a positive vision for green-led recovery in her keynote speech to the FE sector today.

Jennifer Coupland spoke at FE Week’s Annual Apprenticeship Conference, which is being held online this year.

She looked forward to a national green-led recovery supported by our new green apprenticeships advisory panel.

“This will advise where existing apprenticeships could be made greener and skills gaps could be filled by new green training programmes,” said Jennifer. “The panel’s initial focus has been on the energy sector – and they’re currently refining recommendations on energy apprenticeships.”

Jennifer announced that a special diversity project will be launched over the summer that will look at how to improve accessibility and diversity in relation to gender, ethnicity, disability and age across apprenticeships, T Levels, and HTQs.

She also reflected on important work done by the Institute to help apprentices complete through the pandemic, following careful consultation with employers and the wider sector.

She said: “I think it’s fair to say that the impact of the pandemic would have been worse for many apprentices and their employers if we hadn’t introduced around 150 flexibilities for apprenticeships.

“These special measures have supported many people to carry on and complete, in most cases through remote rather than face-to-face end point assessment.”

Jennifer looked forward to pulling higher-quality and employer led entry level, T-Level, and higher technical qualifications into the same established framework as apprenticeship standards. Opportunities for people from all backgrounds to progress between these will be made much clearer through improved occupational maps.

She also stressed the Institute’s commitment to improving the apprentice experience and looked forward to our panel of apprentices publishing challenging best practice guidance for employers and providers.

Her speech was positive about the outlook for apprenticeships as vaccines are rolled out and restrictions on movement and interaction are gradually lifted.

“There are still around 580,000 people on the programme and we were able to celebrate the 100,000th apprentice passing their EPA at the turn of this year,” said Jennifer.

“We are still here and like the nation and our wider economy, we’re resilient and ready to bounce back.”

She added: “The Institute will make the best possible use of our growing authority to open out opportunity and drive-up standards across the board, building a better future beyond the pandemic.”

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