Using behavioural science to enhance apprenticeship delivery

“The behaviours required to prosper in a new world are different.” Aptem CEO, Richard Alberg. Although we might not yet be living in what we can call a ‘post-pandemic’ world, the pandemic has already significantly changed the behaviours and skills we need to thrive. Behavioural science can help us to pinpoint and understand these changes, as well as offer useful insights that can be applied to service delivery, and ultimately support people into work.

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The evolution of blended learning

Blended learning incorporates in-class and remote learning, making use of digital technology to deliver engaging, flexible and collaborative education. Advances in technology have been challenging the classroom-centric mode of teaching since before the pandemic. Yet at the same time, it’s also widely recognised that technology has a significant role to play in education, not least because it is increasingly fundamental to everyday life. The role of education is to prepare young people for independence and success, and digital skills are undoubtedly essential for both.

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Reframing apprenticeships: the importance of level 2 and 3 apprenticeships

Delivered by employers in partnership with training providers, level two and three apprenticeships offer a concrete and reliable path into employment, and a steady supply of new recruits to companies that can train them in the specific skills they require. However, these lower-level apprenticeships have been overshadowed in recent years by the higher- and degree-level apprenticeships that offer an alternative to university education. The declining uptake in level two and three apprenticeships reflects a missed opportunity for employers and employees alike. Here, we explore why.

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Understanding the skills deficit now

The skills deficit in the UK is not a new challenge. As reported in our recent skills-focused white paper, in 2019 a quarter of all vacancies were skills-deficit related, with 60% of these in medium- and high-skilled roles. ONS data from October 2021 reveals a record high number of job vacancies between July and September 2021, indicating the re-opening of many sectors. Yet, as pointed out in the Big Issue, much of the positive news around employment relates to low-skilled, temporary and insecure work; a gap is preventing people from finding secure employment to match their skillset and their needs.

This article explores a pan-sector skills gap, the influence of Brexit and coronavirus on the skills gap, the current talent pool, and the future of employment in the UK.

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How have the government schemes performed at a local level?

The government has taken a sector- and skills-specific approach to tackling unemployment across the UK, rather than forming their response to specifically meet challenges as they are presented at a local level. So, how have these schemes performed locally? Have local authorities and businesses been provided with the tools they need to successfully kick-start local economies? And what should their next steps be?

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Sunak’s Autumn Budget and Employability Services

Announced on 27 October, Rishi Sunak’s autumn budget is as interesting for what it includes as for what is omitted. Given the proximity of the announcement to COP26, the budget has been criticised for a lack of emphasis on green initiatives and the government’s net-zero plan. The cost of long-haul flights is set to rise (with climate change cited as the reason), yet duty on domestic flights has been cut. Overall, as reflected in this particular example, the budget is a mixed bag, offering some causes for celebration, and others for commiseration.

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Traineeships explained

The government introduced traineeships in 2013 as a stepping stone for young people leaving school to either get into an apprenticeship, or directly into work. They offer a means for school-leavers to gain valuable work experience while filling in any academic gaps with the core subjects of maths and English. Provided by businesses and aimed at young people who are unemployed or have little or no work experience, traineeships give 16- to 24-year- olds a clear pathway into work.

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Degree apprenticeships white paper says mandated qualifications should stay

The white paper, which includes perspectives from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), the University Vocational Awards Council, former business secretary and leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable and university-based apprenticeship managers, was written to inform the IfATE’s consultation and review of integration and standards in degree apprenticeships.

The white paper found that the function of mandated degrees went far beyond shaping an apprenticeship’s off-the-job training. While much work is needed to ensure degree apprenticeships deliver widening participation, the evidence shows degree qualifications enhance productivity, increase social mobility, and offer enhanced and transferrable skills to graduates and employers.

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The Challenge of College Enrolment

Colleges are experiencing higher rates of enrolment than ever before and as we approach winter, it’s still unclear whether we’ll be forced to re-introduce measures to control the spread of coronavirus. This means enrolment processes may need to be conducted remotely and thanks to digital solutions, like Aptem Enrol, this is easily done.

Our latest article looks at the challenge of college enrolment and how colleges, students, and employers nationwide benefit from a single, remote enrolment solution.

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