Skills Minister declares UK is ‘hungry for skills’ and urges employers to back apprenticeships

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Alex Burghart MP declared the UK economy is “hungry for skills” at a construction and engineering conference during National Apprenticeship Week

Mr Burghart praised Capital City College Group (CCCG), which hosted the event, and employers for providing valuable careers and training opportunities when he spoke on 9 February.

CCCG’s apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training (CCCT) works with 950 employers to provide high-quality training to 2,000 apprentices each year.

Around 50 representatives from the construction and engineering industries attended the event at Westminster Kingsway College, which is also part of CCCG along with City and Islington College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).

Companies and organisations in attendance included Alstom, Ardmore, Hitachi, CBRE, CITB, Denbre, Berkeley Group, North London Waste Authority, Mitie, Peabody, AECOM, Bowmer and Kirkland, Taylor Woodrow, Vistry Partnerships, Wates, McLaren, TfL, Perfect Welding, Building Heroes, the Greater London Authority, Enfield Council, Islington Council and the Royal Academy for Engineering.

CCCT works with employers across London to offer apprenticeship training in brickwork, plumbing, electrical installations, engineering and rail engineering.

Mr Burghart said: “It’s been a real pleasure for me going around the country meeting scores of people in different stages of their careers and lives who are really benefitting from this extraordinary way of working, whose time is really coming again.

“I don’t remember a time in my lifetime when the economy was so hungry for skills. We’ve got over a million vacancies out there, we’ve got a huge host of opportunities for people to take advantage of, and it’s going to be apprenticeships that are going to help people make the jump into those opportunities.”

Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, called on employers to support the development of T Levels and apprenticeships, and spoke of the need to recruit a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

He said: “We have to make these qualifications work, they are here to stay. I hope you will continue to work with CCCG and the wider education sector to embrace these qualifications and support our young people, who really need to help with the net-zero skills challenges and the economy.”

Construction and engineering apprenticeship training predominantly takes place at CONEL’s large, fully equipped workshops at its centres in Tottenham and Enfield.

The college’s Enfield Centre is home to the London Rail Academy and new London Welding Academy run in partnership with Paddington, part of construction giant Ardmore.

Adrian White, General Manager at Ardmore, said: “Ardmore Group has long been committed to providing opportunities for local people to train in well-paid, highly-skilled jobs, and the London Welding Academy is a brilliant example of that.

“We’re delighted to have been able to open this academy within a matter of months, meaning we can develop our own committed and motivated workforce.”

The London Rail Academy provides apprenticeship training with large employers including Alstom, Hitachi, Eurostar, Docklands Light Railway and London Underground.

CONEL also provides rail track maintenance apprenticeships with London Underground.

Alstom has been training apprentices with CONEL for more than four years on its rail technician training programme.

Alstom apprentice Brandon Hargreaves, 23, said: “Working with the teachers at CONEL has allowed me to learn so much and excel in a subject I am passionate about. Being thrown into the reality of the working world in London has been an amazing experience.”

Lee Bird, Learning and Development Apprenticeship Manager at Alstom, said: “What makes CONEL different from other providers is that they listen to our requirements and have the expertise to modify the apprenticeship content and delivery to meet our business needs.”

CONEL has recently partnered with Enfield Council and Vistry Partnerships to run a new Skills Academy to provide construction training for the Meridian Water regeneration project, which will build 10,000 new homes in Enfield.

CCCT’s provision also includes employability courses with organisations including Women into Construction to provide more opportunities for women to enter the sector. Find out more about our Construction and Engineering apprenticeships.

Find out more about our Construction and Engineering apprenticeships.

Blog: Have YOU considered an apprenticeship instead of university?

Would you like to gain new skills and new knowledge, and get paid while you’re studying for it? An apprenticeship could be the answer. This week is the 15th annual National Apprenticeships Week, a celebration of how apprenticeships help people of all ages develop the skills and knowledge that they need for a rewarding career.

To start the week, Jackie Chapman (Managing Director of Capital City College Training) shares her thoughts on why school leavers should seriously consider an apprenticeship instead of A Levels, T Levels, BTECs or even university, and why it’s a great option for people looking to change careers too.

As National Apprenticeship Week starts, I am reminded of the confusing range of choices available to those leaving school and looking to start the next stage in their lives.

Whether you are 16 or 18 years old, you’ve just had an experience unlike any other generation, making it essential that you have the right support to make the best choices now, which will have a positive impact on your future career.

For some of you, taking A Levels or going to college, and then on to university, may be the best choice, but others would do well by going into work – and in today’s economy there are plenty of options for those who want to! Faced with staff shortages in many key industries, employers are crying out for staff and there has never been a better time to look for a job.

For once, the power is in your hands.

So why should new career starters – or older people changing careers for that matter – apply for an apprenticeship, or ask a perspective employer to put them on an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships used to only be available in ‘hands-on’ professions like plumbing and construction, but nowadays you can be an apprentice in a much wider choice of occupations. , from accountancy and professional services, to business, HR, engineering and childcare. You can even do apprenticeships with us in the hospitality sector – as a chef for example – or in visual effects in the TV of film industry.

Apprenticeships are for everyone and every age too, not just 16 or 18 year olds. We have people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who’ve changed careers and are now doing apprenticeships in HR, Procurement, Management, Adult Care and many other jobs.

In my opinion, being an apprentice is one of the best ways to ensure that you have ongoing support in a new role, because as an apprentice:

1. You have to be given guaranteed time from work to study

2. You have to have a workplace mentor who will guide you

3. You have a coach or tutor from the training provider to support you

4. You have the chance to learn and develop your skills, with managers understanding your development needs.

Great employers recognise the important of supporting staff, so if you are considering employment – check if they offer apprenticeships!

You might be asking how an apprenticeship works and who can do one. As long as you are 16 or older and have not already completed a qualification in a similar role, you can be an apprentice. Apprentices are employed and have time away from work (usually one day per week) to study for a

qualification. To be an apprentice, you can be a new or current employee and are always paid at least the minimum apprentice wage (many employers pay their apprentices more). And, as you’re studying while you’re working, you could also receive a range of travel and council tax discounts too.

An apprenticeship could be your ticket to success. Find out more about our apprenticeships here.