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Apprentice standards 'must be pushed'
Published:  17 May, 2012

EAL has praised the results of a government survey into British apprenticeships, but has warned against complacency.

The Apprentice Learner Survey of 5,000 apprentices found that the vocational learning pathway is leading apprentices to promotions, a boost in confidence and more responsibility in the workplace. It also found that, overall, almost nine in ten apprentices are satisfied with their Apprenticeship.

EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, said that construction, planning and the built environment had the highest satisfaction level amongst all sectors, with 95% of apprentices saying they are satisfied or very satisfied with their Apprenticeships. In the engineering and manufacturing sector, 91% said the same.

Other sector specific findings included 94% of apprentices in construction, planning and built environment saying their Apprenticeship had improved their career prospects, alongside 85% in engineering and manufacturing technology. This compares with an average of 81% across all sectors.

The same two sectors also topped the charts in terms of pay rises on completion of Apprenticeships, with 77% of apprentices in construction, planning and built environment seeing their wages increase and 71% in engineering and manufacturing technologies.

Ann Watson, managing director of EAL, said: “We are delighted to see that such a high proportion of apprentices in our key sectors are satisfied with their Apprenticeships and that the time spent training is paying dividends for both the employee and employer.

“Apprenticeships are a vitally important pathway – and a gold standard alternative to higher education – for young people looking for a skilled career in a variety of sectors. They are also important for older learners, whether they are looking to retrain, progress in their career or enter a new line of work.

“It is very encouraging to see proof that Apprenticeships are helping workers get promotions, take on more responsibility and improve their career prospects – not to mention the majority who said it had improved their overall quality of life. This leaves no doubt as to the huge benefits on offer by following the vocational route.

“We mustn’t get complacent, however, and must continue to strive to improve the quality of provision, giving learners the best possible boost to their careers. Standards must continue to be pushed higher and Apprenticeships that do not meet with the level of quality expected by employers and learners must be rooted out.”

The Apprentice Learner Survey was announced by Skills Minister John Hayes from the department of Business, Innovation & Skills. A summary of the findings can be found here.