Apprenticeship schemes under scrutiny - Langtec Sales Manager urges constructive action after The Richard Report published

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The Richard Review, a report produced by entrepreneur Doug Richard has recommended that apprenticeships in the UK should last for at least twelve months and genuinely train an apprentice for a role within the company, after numerous complaints that some businesses have been offering apprenticeships which fall show of the minimum standards. Lee Parnell of Langtec, Accrington based composite tube manufacturers, welcomes the report as recommended action will further benefit apprentices and employers in specialised roles where practical skills are key to success.

Carbon Fibre Tubes

Carbon Fibre Tubes

In our industry we are reliant on apprentice schemes

The Richard Review has recommended that apprenticeships in the UK should last for at least twelve months and genuinely train an apprentice for a role within the company. The National Apprenticeship Service has named manufacturing and engineering as the two most popular sectors in regard to apprenticeship applications, as the interest in on-the-job training has seen a rapid increase over the last five years.

‘In our industry we are reliant on apprentice schemes,’ Lee Parnell is the sales manager of Accrington based Langtec, carbon fibre tube suppliers. ‘As producers of very specific products like composite tubes and engineering laminates, apprentices must be very skilled to do the job successfully.’

2011 saw the government invest £1.2bn in apprenticeships with 457,200 people beginning their training.

‘The benefit of having an apprentice scheme in place is many-fold,’ says carbon fibre tube supplier, Lee Parnell. ‘The individual receives both theoretical and practical training to do the job, whilst the employer is able to train them in specific subjects for the role.’

The Richard Report came as a result of Business Secretary Vince Cable and Education Secretary Michael Gove asking entrepreneur Doug Richard to consider the future of apprenticeships in the UK. The concerns about the quality of apprenticeships were raised after it was revealed that some schemes were as short as three months.

‘I don’t think there’s a single role in that can be learned in three months,’ says Lee Parnell, supplier of carbon fibre tube components across the country. ‘In fact, I don’t think that there are many jobs across most industries that can be mastered within a 12 week period,’

Mr Richard suggested all apprenticeships should last for at least 12 months, adding that scheme ‘measured in weeks or months’ can still ‘fall short’ of the minimum standards expected.

‘A twelve month training period would be adequate,’ says carbon fibre tube sales manager, Lee Parnell. ‘Twelve months allows the apprentice to learn the theory and practical knowledge which will equip them to deal with unexpected issues in their role,’

This is as a result of numerous complaints that some businesses and agencies have been offering apprenticeships which fall show of the minimum standards by lasting only weeks or a few months, in exchange for government funding and cheap labour.

‘Offering young people work under the guise of an apprenticeship strikes me as immoral,’ says carbon fibre tube supplier, Lee Parnell. ‘If the training is just a few weeks or months long, all the employee receives in exchange is less than basic training whilst the unscrupulous employer gains from cheap labour.’

Mr Richard is clear that individual training to improve the skills of an employee in their existing role and warns that the relationship between apprentice and employee is being lost as schemes have evolved into government led training initiatives devised by training professionals, and not by the individual employers.

‘It is essential that the training materials for apprenticeships are devised by grass-roots employers and not by government employed training experts,’ says Lee Parnell, a sales manager for Langtec, producer of carbon fibre tubes. ‘There is a world of difference between writing the training materials in an office and having the practical experience of the procedures and elements of the job in question.’

Mr Richards advised that apprenticeships ‘require a new job role that is new to the individual; and requires them to learn a substantial amount before they can do that job effectively.’

‘The very nature of an apprenticeship allows an individual a priceless working knowledge of the company and industry they’re training within,’ says carbon fibre tubes sales manager, Lee Parnell. ‘Apprenticeships allow young people to learn about the different roles within the working and environment and the skills specific to their desired role,’

Mr Richard calls for new guidelines to be devised by employers which would ensure the apprenticeship offers a set of skills broad enough to be transferred to other jobs roles whilst clear instructions would dictate what the individual should be able to do and know at the end of their training.

‘This will ensure that apprentices who have completed their training have secured a role within the company they have trained with,’ says Lee Parnell, a sales manager at Accrington-based Langtec, manufacturers of carbon fibre tubes. ‘And those same skills and training can also be transferred to another role in the same industry,’

‘It is complicated and off-putting to an employer to have to undertake paperwork gymnastics to pigeonhole their system into a redefined set of curricular approaches,’ said Mr Richard, who calls to the accomplishments of an apprentice to be robustly tested and adds that apprenticeships must be ‘well regarded’ and not viewed as a lower status alternative to a university course.

‘The advantage to apprenticeships is that they truly provide a comprehensive working knowledge of the role within the company,’ explains sales manager Lee Parnell, supplier of carbon fibre tubes. ‘Apprentices learn both the theory and the practical skills at the same time- a sharp contrast to students fresh from university courses,’

‘His recommendations will help us build on the current successes,’ says Business Secretary Vince Cable. ‘And tailor a programme which is sustainable, high-quality and meets the changing needs of our economy in the decades to come.’

‘I’m welcoming the actions that will be implemented as a result of the Richard Report,’ says fibreglass tube supplier, Lee Parnell. ‘Apprenticeships in the engineering and manufacturing industries should be encouraged amongst both employers and young people as they offer a truly priceless set of role-specific skills and a very secure career.’

‘Apprenticeships are vital for equipping people with the skills they need to prosper, and the nation with the workforce we need to compete in the global race,’ says Skills Minister Matthew Hancock. ‘Over a million people have started an apprenticeship since 2010, right across the economy. So I welcome this timely and thorough investigation into apprenticeships, and will consider carefully its suggestions to make the programme even more successful.’

This press release was written as part of an ongoing SEO campaign by Bolton website designers, Vizcom.

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