National Apprenticeship Service
|Predecessor||Learning and Skills Council|
|Formation||27 April 2009|
|Purpose||Apprenticeships in England|
|Skills Funding Agency|
At the beginning of February 2008 the Labour Government published a document called Strategy for the Future of Apprenticeships in England. It introduced a quango, the National Apprenticeship Service. The National Skills Director of the Learning and Skills Council was to be in charge of the NAS. The LSC at the time had had most of its funding farmed out to local authorities. The NAS was to be part of the LSC, as outlined in the government's 2008 document on apprenticeships. Two new divisions in the LSC were formed at the same time - one for young people headed by Rob Wye, and one for adult education and training headed by Chris Roberts. All of the three new divisions were still at this stage part of the LSC, and not separate entities. At the time six government agencies had some responsibility for apprenticeships, but there was no overall leadership.
At the time of its formation, the Labour Government up to that point had been heavily focused on persuading 50% of under-18s to attend university. In other European countries, much more focus is placed on apprenticeships; only 6% of English companies offer apprenticeships compared to 30% in Germany. In England, those who by age of 25 had been on an apprenticeship are likely to earn much more than those who do not, for similar qualifications (£100,000 over a career). A university degree is often quoted as improving earning potential, but is highly dependent on choice of degree, and apprenticeships have a much higher success rate on earning potential.
Apprenticeships are demand-led. Government funds Apprenticeship training, in full for 16- to 19-year-olds and in part for adults but relies on employers and providers to work together to offer sufficient opportunities in the context of the greater freedoms and flexibilities created in the further education system. Therefore, Government does not plan Apprenticeship places but provides funding and forecasts the number of places that may be afforded as a result.
What is an Apprenticeship?
• Apprentices are employees within a company and are paid a wage • All apprentices receive training for a specific job and gain recognised qualifications • Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years old from school leavers to those who have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career • Apprentices must be living in England and not taking part in full-time education • Employment will be for at least 30 hours per week. In cases where the learner cannot complete the full 30 hours, employment must be for more than 16 hours per week
• The training for 16- to 18-year-old apprentices is fully funded by the Government • The minimum apprentice wage is £3.40 per hour for ages 16 to 18 • Apprenticeships are available at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher (degree) level, covering more than 170 industries and 1500 job roles in sectors from Nursing to Graphic Design, Horticulture to Electric Vehicle Engineering • Over 100,000 employers in over 200,000 workplaces in England offer Apprenticeships • Vacancies are advertised using the Apprenticeship vacancies system. At any one time there are up to 15,000 jobs available in a variety of careers and industries across England from Information and Communication technology, to Engineering or Business Administration • To see the current vacancies visit the Apprenticeship vacancies section of the website and register as a new user to set up your free account
Higher Apprenticeships at Degree Levels
The National Apprenticeship Service's vision is for a new family of Apprenticeships spanning craft, technical and professional levels that open up work-based learning routes to the professions and senior job roles.
Higher Apprenticeships are being developed as higher education level learning programmes through which individuals develop the knowledge and competencies required to perform specific job roles. Higher apprenticeships in engineering have existed in the UK since the 1950s in various industries such as aerospace, automotive, nuclear, industrial equipment, military, electrical and other sectors.
Higher Apprenticeships are about putting employers in the driving seat and developing and delivering learning programmes on the basis of business need. Frameworks are being designed to support higher level skills development critical to the economy: responding to employers’ higher level skill needs, supporting business growth, meeting individuals’ career aspirations and enhancing opportunities for social mobility through professional accreditation and membership.
In March 2008 the Raising Expectations White Paper authorised the splitting of the LSC into the Young People's Learning Agency, the Skills Funding Agency and the National Apprenticeship Service. This was made concrete by the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, which was given Royal Assent on 12 November 2009, which would abolish the LSC in April 2010.
The National Apprenticeship Service focuses on increasing the number of apprentices in England. We work with employers to help them introduce apprentices into their businesses, help those looking to start their careers find an Apprenticeship opportunity and contribute towards the costs of the training and qualifications within an Apprenticeship. We engage with a wide range of partners to help design the frameworks for apprentices and we implement all Government policies aimed at improving the quality and quantity of Apprenticeships.
Since October 2011, NAS has also had responsibility for UK membership of WorldSkills International, WorldSkills UK, skills competitions and National Training Awards – all of which are UK wide activities and are run in partnership with organisations from industry and education.
National Apprenticeship Week
National Apprenticeship Week is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals and businesses.
National Apprenticeship Week is the time when all eyes are on Apprenticeships and it’s all about raising the profile amongst employers, individuals, teachers, parents and the media.
Everyone with an interest in Apprenticeships across England is encouraged to get involved in the week.
The sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week took place from 11-15 March 2013.
The week was designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.
The overarching theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2013 was Apprenticeships Deliver.
National Apprenticeship Week 2014 took place between 3-7 March 2014.
The dates for National Apprenticeship Week 2015 have been confirmed for 9 - 13 March 2015.