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EAL urges the Government to deliver on apprenticeships

Ann Watson, managing director of specialist awarding organisation, EAL, has welcomed Skills Minster John Hayes’ plans to reduce bureaucracy for micro-firms looking to take on apprentices, but warns that wider action is needed if Britain is to avoid a shortage of skilled labour.
She said: 'Mr Hayes has highlighted the bureaucracy around taking on apprentices as a critical obstacle to firms, particularly micro-firms, and he is right. I applaud him for tackling this issue. However, the Government should also look at how it can reduce the bureaucratic burden on small to medium sized businesses too.

'SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) account for nearly 50 per cent of UK turnover, with engineering and manufacturing firms comprising a sizeable portion of that business. Their ongoing success is vital to the success of UK plc, and desperately needed if the UK is going to reinvigorate its export trade. All these firms need help and support at this difficult time. Mr Hayes needs to ensure that bureaucracy across the board is streamlined, and quickly. I look forward to hearing how he’s going to do this and urge him to make this a priority.'

She added: 'We welcome his determination that careers advice should be more closely integrated into school. Currently, there is a real lack of understanding, or of timely information about opportunities within skilled industries being given to school children. This means they are unable to make informed decisions about their futures at 14 years or 16 years, which is crucial. We need more young people introduced to vocational training as the first step to a rewarding career.

'We hope the new National Careers Service will plug this gap when it is launched next year, and we recognise that the introduction of the NUS Apprentice card will also help reinforce the fact that an apprenticeship is not a ‘second-best’ option.'

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18 July 2011

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