Chris Claydon, Chief Executive at JTL, offers his insights on the Government’s latest report about apprenticeships and traineeships*.
The Government’s report, published on 30th November last year covers the period of August 2022 to July 2023 and details promising figures for the industry, including 7,428 starts in electrical apprenticeships and 2,240 in Level 3 plumbing apprenticeships.
Chris Claydon said: “Through the recently released data, we can see that employer demand for electrical and plumbing apprenticeships is encouraging, though employer bodies are still calling for more to meet specific workforce requirements and close skills gaps, which we are taking into consideration as we develop our strategy.
“Indeed, it’s promising to see that there is a continued enthusiasm for apprenticeships within the STEM sector, which we have also witnessed throughout our business and the wider industry. Despite a marginal decrease in electrical apprenticeships from the previous year, there were over 7,400 starts in 2022/23, well above the 10-year average of around 6,000.
“The industry is also seeing continued growth for plumbing apprenticeships and there is an appetite to learn about new and emerging technologies in this sector, such as heat pumps, which will positively contribute to the closing of the existing skills gap and help meet the Government’s wider net-zero targets.
“JTL continues to collaborate with employers and apprentices to enhance training programmes and deliver a skilled and resilient workforce in-line with the growing demand of the wider industry. However, the increasing complexity and rising cost of apprenticeship delivery is not being met by the current funding levels, which is why the number of providers is reducing year on year. There is an urgent need to address this issue if we are to find sufficiently skilled people to meet our needs.
“Furthermore, when assessing the new data, we would caution against a simplistic view of increased achievement volumes, as this is likely to be the result of clearing backlogs of apprentices past planned end dates, following COVID-19 disruption. Our recognition of this feeds into the introduction of JTL’s new entry requirements, ensuring the highest quality of apprentices are provided to employers and the evolving demand of the industry is exceeded through our apprenticeships.
“JTL remains committed to delivering high-quality training where the learner is placed at the centre, adapting to emerging technologies and cultivating a workforce that not only contributes to closing the skills gap, but also anticipates and fulfils the future demands of the dynamic wider industry.”