The Future of Apprenticeships and the Jobs of Tomorrow

First Intuition hosted the ‘Apprenticeship Stage’ at Form the Future’s Annual Conference themed ‘How to prepare young people for a rapidly changing world’. From this stage, we hosted four sessions talking about Apprenticeships and the value they bring to students and employers. This article highlights some of the key points discussed in one of these sessions about ‘The Future of Apprenticeships and the Jobs of Tomorrow’.

The Future of Apprenticeships

The Future of Apprenticeships and the Jobs of Tomorrow

First Intuition hosted the ‘Apprenticeship Stage’ at Form the Future’s Annual Conference themed ‘How to prepare young people for a rapidly changing world’. From this stage, we hosted four sessions talking about Apprenticeships and the value they bring to students and employers. This article highlights some of the key points discussed in one of these sessions about ‘The Future of Apprenticeships and the Jobs of Tomorrow’.

This article summarises a discussion between expert speakers from the apprenticeship sphere that discussed the future of apprenticeships, including political challenges and how government policies are shaping apprenticeships and skills development. As well as speakers from sectors experiencing rapid growth sharing their insight into the jobs of the future and the sectors offering opportunities for new roles, including the sorts of skills these industries and the future workforce will need.

Speakers included:

  • Alex Rossiter, Policy Manager, Cambridge Ahead
  • Joe Crossley, Membership Services Director, The Association of Employment & Learning Providers
  • David May, Deputy Director LIAT, University of Lincoln
  • Daniel Clarke, Head of Technology & Innovation, Greater Cambridge Partnership

How apprenticeships help the economy

Apprenticeships play a role in the inclusive growth of the economy as apprenticeships are easily accessible to people from different walks of life. Businesses have a plethora of needs and apprenticeships help to expand these skill bases, keeping people in work and continuing generations of skilled labour. Apprenticeships also offer flexibility and the opportunity to upskill in real-time in line with new technologies, data and the needs of the business. This can even lead to new roles in a sector.

The future of apprenticeships

An optimistic outlook:

  • The cost of university means that people are looking at different routes to higher education
  • Despite a lack of funding in some areas, there are ongoing policy changes and most political parties have been positive about apprenticeships
  • Apprenticeships have a lot to offer and they are starting to be recognised for this more widely
  • There is a strong appetite for apprenticeships from both learners and employers
  • There is a supply and demand issue, in some cases, there are too many apprentices for roles. Employers should work on creating more space for the amount of candidates there are for competitive positions. Employers should ensure recruitment is inclusive
  • Efforts should also be directed at getting new and emerging areas to take on apprenticeship programmes

A less optimistic outlook:

  • Businesses need long-term learning and this is not adequately funded. There is the challenge of how to increase basic skills in new sectors that are not supported by funding
  • Reforms that were brought in to make things simpler for employers wanting to hire apprentices have made things harder. Particularly around receiving apprenticeship funding
  • More is needed to be done to support smaller companies, there is a supply and demand issue and there needs to continue to be supporting schemes. Politicians do have their backing behind these schemes but there needs to be resources in place to ensure they continue
  • The appetite for apprenticeships is there but it is the policy that is the issue and poses the challenges facing employers wanting to deliver apprenticeships
  • Although some businesses are finding they have more supply than demand, for SMEs, it is harder for them to get apprentices in some industries. They need more skilled labor but they can’t find it
  • There are issues with the sustainability of apprenticeships. The costs have gone up but funding bands have stayed the same making apprenticeships less affordable

What changes to government policy do we need?

There is a gap between what is raised for the levy and what it actually gets spent on what it is intended for. A lot of the funds get clawed back from the budget. It would help to be able to spend the levy more flexibly

Funding bands are also out of date, a lot of them have not been changed in years and as a result, do not reflect changes in inflation and the cost of living. The funding bands that the government is increasing are going up a lot, illustrating the extent of the problem. There should be regular reviews of funding to keep up with inflation and the flexibility of funding bands should sit with employers to fit their needs.

An industrial strategy would help as well as more investment in some industries.

Apprenticeships of tomorrow: How are machine learning and AI affecting jobs, and what skills are needed?

  • Automation and AI are changing job roles
  • There are not enough skills to keep up with this technology change. This is an area where apprentices can be directed and funded
  • The challenge of sustainability is driving innovation
  • Workers now need the skills to make decisions using AI
  • Skills are needed in engineering and designing the systems/technology that will replace hard labour
  • There should be a change in policy so that these sorts of jobs and skills are encouraged and adopted
  • Apprenticeships are innovating and changing to suit the needs of the workforce. Flexible job apprenticeships mean the trainees move around different employers on a project-based basis
  • Simple changes across the board would help to make apprenticeships more accessible
  • Baby steps and some support from mentors will help apprenticeships become ready for the future

Key emerging job roles:

  1. Data and AI roles
  2. Urban technology, specifically sustainability
  3. Customer experience roles

Further Resources

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Date

Title