Why apprenticeships today offer so much variety

Cllr Jayne Francis, cabinet member for education skills and culture, talks about the great opportunities on offer for apprentices and employers

Apprenticeships have really changed over the years - they are not what people of my generation remember from our days of choosing careers and education paths. 

During National Apprenticeship Week its particularly important to say just how varied today’s apprenticeships are.

You can still learn a trade on the job but you can also gain all kinds of qualifications in lots of different industries and roles, all whilst earning, and some apprenticeships can take you right up to a Masters’ degree.

In Birmingham we are working together across the city to help people achieve some amazing things.

We are working in partnership with many organisations - such as the University of Birmingham and West Midlands Employers – as well as other small- and medium-sized enterprises to raise awareness about apprenticeships and the benefits they offer, as well as offering careers guidance to our young people, to make them aware of their options.

And importantly apprenticeships are not just for school leavers.

Within Birmingham City Council itself we are looking at skills levels within service areas and identifying where apprenticeships could be used to address skills gaps. By raising awareness about apprenticeships and how the apprenticeship levy could be used, we hope to upskill our own workforce.

In fact, public sector bodies with more than 250 employees have a target that 2.3% of their workforce start apprenticeships annually.  That means that based on current headcount, the city council needs to start 233 apprenticeships per financial year, excluding schools staff.

As of the end of December 2019, 94 new apprenticeships have started this financial year and a number of apprenticeship starts are planned for early in 2020.

We are in conversation with the Combined Authority about their use of the levy as well as exploring other initiatives in the city where the levy could add value, as it is important to work together.

We have some great young great young apprentices at the city council and across the city so I would urge young people and employers to consider the fantastic opportunities available.

This blog was posted on 5 February 2020

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