Apprenticeship bosses spell out ambitions

APPRENTICESHIPS bosses in Essex have spelled out their ambitions to grow the model and attract more young people into post-16 vocational training.

Currently 390 people – a third of whom are aged 16 to 18 – are in apprenticeships being administered by Essex County Council’s educational arm ACL.

ACL Essex offers a wide range of apprenticeships in four main areas – health and care, early years and education, business and finance and leadership and management.

ACL is keen to hammer down the message that apprenticeships are for many people a better way to gain nationally recognised qualifications, while getting practical hands on experience in a ‘real’ job.

Part of the message is apprentices will have a contract of employment and will earn at least the national apprenticeship wage.

The programme lasts for at least 12 months and up to three years depending on the level undertaken.

As part of its aspirations for 2019/20, ACL wants to grow provision and generate an income in excess of 800,000 – apprenticeship income is derived from the levy, Education and Skills Funding Agency and employer co-investment – and in 2018/19 its income was £693,000.

It also wants to increase the number of apprenticeship starts from just over 100 who started this academic year, to 400 starting in 2019/20, while attracting 20 per cent more young people aged 16 and 18 onto one of the schemes.

ACL also wants to increase the take-up of apprenticeships from disadvantaged areas – including from Harlow, Basildon and Tendring.

Amanda Rawlings, business development manager at ACL, said: “We are improving marketing and would really like to achieve 400 starts this academic year.

“We want to increase the take-up of apprenticeships in Essex County Council (ECC) and its schools and as departments go through their redesigns we hope more people will be taking up apprenticeships as part of their development.

“And we have ongoing pieces of work with schools across Essex and to help them access funds they have in ECC as part of the ECC levy or their own.

“We want to attract 20 per cent more young people aged 16 onto our programme because young people don’t see us as an option when they come out of school.

“So our rebranding around ACL is going someways to attract more people onto our programmes.”

A third of apprentices are aged 16 to 18 and 77 come from a disadvantaged postcode.

ACL, which has 123 people taking apprenticeships at ECC itself, also delivers apprenticeships to schools, academies and business across Essex.

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