Apprenticeships can be at all levels; we now have Degree Apprenticeships and Semta has been involved in the development of a Master Apprenticeship. These higher-level apprenticeships could be hugely valuable in supporting and encouraging the attainment of high level STEM skills in the UK, and as the apprenticeship standards underpinning them are employer designed employers can have confidence that they will meet their needs. They could kill two birds with one stone, helping employers to make the best of their levy and enabling them to fill skills shortage vacancies with workers who have exactly the right skills (including those 'soft' skills employers across the sector consistently complain their young recruits lack) - we know from UKCES research that there is no overall shortage of high level STEM skills, but there are pockets of vacancies across the sector which apprenticeships, as they are by law tied to a specific job role, could help to fill.
Most importantly, if we boost the numbers of these high-level apprenticeships on offer we will be providing high-quality, industry valued and respected opportunities to the next generation of engineers, enabling our best and brightest young people to get qualified at the highest levels and to gain real work experience without incurring the debt of their peers who go on to study traditional taught degrees. My advice to employers from across the sector who have problems in filling skilled vacancies is to take advantage of this opportunity and grow your own.
If you would like any support with guiding you through recruiting an apprentice or advice on the apprenticeship levy please contact the Semta Apprenticeship Service on 0845 643 9001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.semta.org.uk/sas