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March 14 2016
This week marks the public celebration of nearly 900,000 apprentices in the UK. For industry, it’s an opportunity to recognise the important impact that apprenticeships have on different sectors.
Proactive among railway recruitment agencies, McGinley Support Services provide job opportunities across the infrastructure sector and have established a national training scheme for rail, an area that we look to encourage throughout 2016’s National Apprenticeship Week and beyond.
At a time when the Government has focused its efforts on attracting the workforce of tomorrow into vocational training, National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is a chance to observe how this hands-on education prepares people to enter industries that are often complex.
From the 14 th until the 18 th of March, 2016’s NAW will centre around one key idea, that “An apprenticeship can take you anywhere”. With more UK graduates than ever entering jobs where they do not need a degree, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, this year’s NAW is also a chance to break down the stigma that surrounds apprenticeships.
While many undervalue apprenticeships compared to traditional higher education, the reality is that today’s apprenticeships are a far cry from the outdated vision of blacksmiths’ and plumbers’ assistants.
An apprenticeship in 2016 is a highly skilled system of preparation, benefiting those who choose to study this way with direct experience in their favoured industry.
It’s this very experience that the industry will later rely on to function effectively. Civil engineering, for example, is an area of engineering that affects the development, build and maintenance of every aspect of the infrastructure around us, including our transport networks.
As part of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, McGinley will be attending TFL’s Apprenticeships Fair for Young Londoners 2016. The event, which will be held on March 17 th , looks to inspire young people with a range of apprenticeship opportunities in the transportation and infrastructure sectors. Given the apprenticeship drive in rail, McGinley hope to engage the 350 young people expected to attend the TFL Apprenticeship Fair with the opportunities on offer as part of the Rail Apprenticeship Scheme.
Apprenticeships in the UK have far-reaching consequences that impact and bolster the British economy, as well as the industries in which they are adopted.
Naturally, the 2016 NAW is likely to recognise the significance of the Apprenticeship Levy that is due to come into effect on April 1 st 2017. From that date, any company with a wage bill greater than £3 million will be subject to a levy at the set rate of 0.5%.
The new levy will go towards funding apprentices in small and large organisations across the country and employers will have the option to broaden the skills of existing staff as well as new apprentices – a move that is reportedly designed to help the Government achieve its ambitions of recruiting 3 million apprentices by 2020.
Encouraged by the imminent Apprenticeship Levy, businesses have already turned their attention to offering work experience, traineeships and, of course, apprenticeships, such as the scheme offered by McGinley.
Infrastructure is an integral part of this country, and from bridges and roads to railway, it’s vital that the sector identifies talented individuals who can help to bridge the skills gap and protect its future.
Undertaking two thirds of the company’s training requirements, Asset McGinley – our own training programme – has already been responsible for helping to develop the skills of the next generation of rail engineers and managers.
The Rail Apprentice Scheme, in partnership with further education college Coleg y Cymoedd, was introduced in 2014 and invites young people to participate in specialised on-the-job training that will help them to secure employment in the rail sector.
The apprentices are able to undertake their NVQ2, receiving the additional Personal Track Safety and the Track Induction Course qualifications alongside. Furthermore, this vocational education is offering the potential of a sustainable career on their doorstep.
Sean McGinley explains: “ We know that the rail sector needs trainees, but to minimise travel and fatigue, we want to ensure that our apprentices live close to real long-term work opportunities.
“With customer support we aim to place apprentices exactly where and when the industry needs them over the coming years.
“We'll work with and guide training organisations taking suitable young people on supervised, paid placements with us during their apprenticeships; if they perform well, they will be guaranteed sustainable work through us when their apprenticeship is completed.”
As well as learning the core skills they’ll need for a successful career in rail, the engineering apprentices are taught a range of transferable skills including building works, electrical trades and health and safety at the college’s Centre of Excellence for Railway Training.
The Rail Scheme will benefit from a further boost in 2016, as new facilities are in the process of being built. This will benefit those undergoing the training programme with state-of-the-art equipment and a learning environment in which to foster their skills ready to enter the railway workforce.
The scheme provides young people in the area with a chance to build real skills that can be migrated to and utilised in the rail sector. For the sector itself, apprenticeships such as this help to improve safety practices and develop the knowledge needed to create a more proficient labour force, an outcome that can only count towards maximising operational efficiency in rail.
Image Credit: Lynne Featherstone (flickr.com)
To find out more about job possibilities in the sector, visit the rail recruitment page.