With a formal launch of the new Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) and introduction of an Apprenticeship levy in April 2017, the engineering profession has been working to ensure that apprentices in this sector gain the skills that employers need through high quality Apprenticeships.
IfA, which is independent from government, launched on 3 April to oversee Apprenticeships and technical education in England. In the lead up to IfA’s formation, a profession-wide response to its draft strategy was coordinated by Education for Engineering (E4E), a group made up of 38 engineering organisations including the Engineering Council. The regulatory body also responded independently to the Department for Education’s draft operational plan for IfA, a final version of which has been published here. IfA’s board of eight comprises mostly business leaders, including two with an engineering background, to ensure employers’ needs are met.
Government policy stipulates that Apprenticeships should be aligned to professional registration, where it exists, to ensure quality. In the engineering sector the professional bodies continue to engage with and contribute to the development of new engineering Apprenticeships to make sure that they are aligned to the requirements laid out in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC). As a result, upon finishing engineering schemes, apprentices will be eligible to become professionally registered.
The engineering profession continues to collaborate on development work on the different levels of Apprenticeships, including Degree and Higher Apprenticeships. One current strand of work is to develop a policy around future Engineering Council recognition of these Apprenticeships.
Speaking about Apprenticeships, Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: “More than 90% of apprentices go into work or further training, and the quality on-the-job training on offer will make sure we have the people with the skills, knowledge and technical excellence to drive our country forward.
“Building an Apprenticeship and skills nation is essential in ensuring that we have the home-grown workforce we need in post-Brexit Britain to address the skills shortages facing industry and give everyone the chance to succeed.”