New LLEP Apprenticeship Strategy unveiled. This 20-point action plan outlines opportunities in vocational training. Showing SMEs the benefit of apprentices.
Apprenticeships in Leicester and Leicestershire will increase in number over coming years under a new plan to grow opportunities across business sizes and skills levels.
Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and skills partners aim to build the number of local people undertaking an apprenticeship. They also want to grow the number of SMEs taking on apprentices, and support employers and education providers in increasing the number of higher and degree apprenticeships.
It comes as data shows half of apprenticeships in the LLEP region are started by people aged 25 and above. Female starts outnumbered male starts in 2020-21.
The LLEP has now set out its objectives in a new three-year Apprenticeship Strategy and Action Plan. It follows the Levelling Up White Paper, in which Government set out twelve ‘missions’ in which it believes progress is needed over the next decade.
Government is investing an additional £3.8bn in further education and skills to ensure the number of people successfully completing high-quality skills training significantly increases by 2030.
Verity Hancock, Chair of the LLEP’s Skills Advisory Panel and Principal of Leicester College, said
“Inclusivity and productivity are core focuses of the LLEP’s economic growth strategy and we are already introducing projects, such as the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, which will improve the quality, number and take-up of local apprenticeships.
“Our Apprenticeship Strategy and Action Plan sets out how we will work with regional education and skills providers and employers, especially SMEs, to further raise awareness of apprenticeships, traineeships and T-levels through to 2024.
“Our goal is to deliver improved links to careers in the curriculum, especially for those aged 16 to 18, and start apprenticeship conversations with adults. By working with business intermediaries, we can increase the number of apprenticeships locally, particularly around STEM subjects.”
The LLEP recognises that local challenges remain. The continuing dominance of the academic route among young people and lack of awareness about availability of apprenticeships for adults have both been identified.
The number of advertised vacancies is also lower in Leicester and Leicestershire than in other areas – a trend attributed to the region’s large SME population.
Most apprenticeship ‘starts’ in the region are in the city and North West Leicestershire as a result of the number of larger employers. Analysis has identified Engineering and Manufacturing as skills priorities for the LLEP area which require an ongoing supply of skilled employees.
The LLEP is addressing these challenges with a 20-point action plan aimed at encouraging employers to take on more apprentice talent while raising the take-up of apprenticeships among people of all ages.
The LLEP wants apprenticeships and other vocational options like T-levels to be recognised in equal parity to academic routes and an alternative pathway to successful careers across all sectors of the economy.
On April 5, the LLEP is coordinating a session with wider partners for advisers who support people into work, encouraging them to promote apprenticeships as an option.