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City & Guilds' ISB calls for Ucas-style apprenticeship application scheme

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A group including leading employers and training providers has called for the introduction of a “Ucas-style” system for apprenticeship recruitment.

In its report Making Apprenticeships Work, the City & Guilds’ Industry and Skills Board (ISB) states that young applicants currently find it more difficult to apply for an apprenticeship than to enrol in college or at university, owing to the lack of a coherent recruitment process.  

A system that was more closely aligned with the school year would help to address this, the group finds. Employers could be incentivised to offer apprenticeship opportunities between July and October, and these could then be converted into vacancies later in the year to suit employers’ recruitment plans.

ISB chair Andy Smyth said many young people in full-time education decided an apprenticeship is the right route for them, but this meant “nothing if they cannot access opportunities in the right time frame”.

“If the obstacles we outline in this report, such as the recruitment process, are addressed, I am confident apprenticeships can become a sustainable and universally respected route to career success, serving the needs of business and young people.”

The ISB includes representatives from businesses including Barclays, TUI and McDonald’s, as well as training providers and the TUC. Published days after the consultation on the government’s apprenticeship levy closed, the report proposes a 25-point action plan on what further reform might be needed, how changes should be implemented, and the quality of on-the-job training could be ensured.

Society had “essentially misled young people” into believing they would be “foolish not to take a degree”, while evidence showed “how much better the prospects are for vocational or science graduates, it states.  

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