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London South Bank University launches diversity in apprenticeship drive for National Apprenticeship Week

Alison May, LSBU’s head of Apprenticeships

@LSBU is this week (3-8 February) marking #NationalApprenticeshipWeek #NAW2020 by launching a drive to encourage more applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply to study for an @apprenticeship.

LSBU currently offers a variety of apprenticeships with employer sponsors, across a range of sectors – from building services, engineering and chartered planning to nursing, screen skills, technical acoustics and digital marketing.  This week the University has also been named one of the top 50 apprenticeship providers in the country.

Since apprenticeship schemes were first introduced at LSBU four years ago, the University’s record on achieving a diverse range of applicants, has got off to a promising start, with over half (51%) of all LSBU apprentices coming from a BAME/multi-ethnic background: 16% black, 27% Asian, and 8% mixed race. Of these applicants, 43% are female, working in typically male-dominated professions, such as building services and engineering, as well as typically female dominated professions such as healthcare (55%).

In 2019-2020, out of a total of 1600 LSBU apprentices, 38% degree/higher apprentices are women, with 28% studying for careers in architecture, building services and planning (17% in quantity surveying, 9% in engineering, 6% in architecture and 6% in chartered planning) with 7% in business management.

However, currently the proportion of women applying for apprenticeships in the building and construction skills sector is lower than for men. This is why – in keeping with this year’s diversity theme for NAW 2020, LSBU is highlighting those female apprentices who have opted to pursue a career in the typically male-dominated field of construction skills, in a bid to encourage more women to enter the industry.

LSBU student, Tahirah Tang-Campbell, 23 years-old, currently a second-year (BEng) trainee Structural Engineer on an apprenticeship with Waterman Structures Ltd, said:

“An apprenticeship is so much more than just learning on the job… It’s a personal development opportunity that has enabled me to learn the trade by’ doing’, as opposed to reading from a text book.

“Many individuals get into apprenticeships early on in their careers with minimal or no theoretical or practical experience – or even life experience. Coming into an apprenticeship has allowed me to develop my interpersonal and communications skills and learn to adapt.  You’re put into this real world work place with professionals in the industry. You have to be able to adapt to different ways of working, environments and people and be willing to learn, not only what’s necessary, but to understand the means behind it.

“I liaise with peers, clients and external individuals on a daily basis, which helps build my confidence. I plan to stay at Watermans as a structural engineer – hopefully becoming more site based in future.”

Alison May, LSBU’s head of Apprenticeships, said:

“In 2020, it’s great to see LSBU’s apprenticeship offering going from strength to strength while appealing to an increasingly diverse pool of applicants – with more and more women and BAME applicants opting to work and study in typically white, male-dominated fields such as construction skills, building services, quantity surveying and engineering.

“With a total of 1600 LSBU apprentices currently enrolled with employers, the University has also made good progress towards hitting its target of 2000 apprentices by the end of 2020. But we can always do more to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to enter these professions.

“This is a very good start and it will be interesting to see how we continue to build the University’s apprenticeship offering, in 2021.”

To mark NAW 2020, LSBU hosted a networking event (date) for local employers, industry and Southwark Council, on Wednesday 5 February at the University’s Passmore Centre for Apprenticeships.

Here are some of the apprenticeship schemes launched by LSBU in 2019-20:

  • UK Screen skills Post-production apprenticeship launched (23 Jan) with LSBU and UK Screen Alliance. This one-year course has been devised to educate the future generation of technical operators in post-production roles. 
  • LSBU is sponsoring a new apprenticeship standard for acoustics technicians (launched to employers 21 January 2020). The Acoustics Technician (level 4) apprenticeship programme has been developed as an employer-led, industry initiative, with support from the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) and the Institute of Acoustics (IOA). The first cohort of apprentices are set to start this year.
  • Lambeth’s University Training College (UTC) part of the LSBU Group, will offer apprenticeships in engineering and health, from September 2021. These apprenticeships will focus on delivering levels 2 and 3 to young applicants. As the sponsor University, LSBU’s role will be to ensure these apprenticeships are high quality and meet the needs of both employers and apprentices;
  • In 2019, LSBU became the first UK university to launch full five-year, chartered town planning apprenticeship scheme (level 7). Successful apprentices standing to gain a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) fully-accredited qualification from an RTPI accredited Planning School. 
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