Graduate apprenticeships

Barbara Colledge

The Graduate Apprenticeship framework developed by the E-Skills NTO, in conjunction with universities, leading employers and others, has been proposed as one measure to address the national skills shortage and recognises the IT skills gained by graduates.

Graduate Apprenticeships (GAs) were announced by the Government in 1998 in the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) consultation paper, 'The Learning Age'. The aim was to enhance the employment skills of graduates through sector specific frameworks to enable the achievement of nationally recognised standards of competence. In Engineering and E-skills, the National Training Organisations (NTOs) working in conjunction with universities and colleges, have worked to develop such GA frameworks to strengthen work- based skills and competencies.

The Graduate Apprenticeship professional award is aimed at undergraduates, new graduates and those in employment studying in higher education on a part time basis. The emphasis is on widening participation and the enhancement of employability through the integration of work-based learning in programmes of study. The programme of learning normally addresses four core components, reflecting the tripartite relationship between employers, higher education, and industry (the NTO - now the Sector Skills Council). These comprise structured and relevant work-based learning in me workplace, the higher education award, the NVQs/NVQ and Key Skills units encompassed by the GA, together with any further education or additional underpinning knowledge, sectoral or business awareness elements.

The E-Skills NTO has been at the forefront in developing the GA framework. In their recently published 'Employers Charter' aimed at combating skills shortages in Information Technology, the NTO specifically recognised that
"A million extra trained professionals are needed in IT in the next five years. Without UK wide industry action to address this need, growth will slow and the UK will fail to reach its potential. As employers we will not be able to fill our vacancies and we will lose business."

The Graduate Apprenticeship framework developed by the E-Skills NTO. in conjunction with universities, leading employers and others, has been proposed as one measure to address this national skills shortage and recognises the IT skills gained by graduates. Leeds Metropolitan University has been one of the Universities working closely with the NTO to develop and offer the Graduate- Apprenticeship. The University will shortly be launching the new Graduate Apprenticeship programme to be offered by the School of Information Management and the Office for Leeds and Yorkshire (OLAY). Interest in this new programme has been strong with a first cohort of 75-100 participants anticipated. This provides a sound foundation fur the success of this new national award and for the development and strengthening of a skilled workforce needed to support economic growth.


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For further information contact
Deborah Trayhurn or Helen Irving at
Leeds Metropolitan University or
Christine Sanderson at the E-Skills
NTO, London.

Barbara Colledge in Deputy Dean of
the Faculty of Information and
Engineering Systems, Leeds
Metropolitan University

Engineering the future for young people

Barry Edge

At IIE the promotion of engineering to young people is seen as critical to industry and to sustaining the economy. The Institution has therefore sought to create a number of initiatives and links with relevant organisations.

The accreditation of suitable engineering courses is the mainstay of IIE's input into the education system. As well as creating among students an awareness of the institution's services, students benefit in several ways. As each IIE accredited course is recognised throughout industry those who succeed in them maximise their chances of securing employment when they venture into the job market. Additionally, the route to full IIE Membership is much smoother as the institution has already validated the content of their qualifications. Further, by accrediting engineering courses through the IIE educational establishments may attract greater numbers of students. Although no official statistics exist, lecturers who run IIE Accredited courses say that the intake of students increases significantly once accreditation has been achieved.

A further avenue that IIE is developing within the education world is links with publishers of engineering textbooks. The many titles published in partnership with Butterworth Heinemann cover a wide range of engineering subjects. Written by academics for students studying HND and Degree courses, these books provide an in-depth understanding of aspects of engineering and help to set a pattern for the structure of professional development.

It is recognised throughout industry that good networking is an invaluable aid to building a career and so IIE encourages students to become involved in its social and professional development events. Networking helps gain inside knowledge of career opportunities and allows students to share experiences and obtain guidance on how to plan for the future.

Once established in a career, engineers will find that the IIE's Professional Development Record portfolio will help structure their training and provide guidance and support with professional development for the rest of their professional lives.

As can be seen, collectively IIE has considerable input into the education system and in conjunction with its extensive student recruitment programme is continuously seeking to expand its services for students so they can engineer their futures.

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Barry Edge is Student and Young
Member Advisor at IIE. He can be
contacted on 020 7395 0257.