Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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More businesses blazing the way for apprenticeships

The Prime Minister has announced the businesses involved in the second phase of the successful apprenticeship trailblazer programme.

The Prime Minister has announced the businesses involved in the second phase of the successful apprenticeship trailblazer programme, who will be designing new world-class apprenticeship standards for their sectors.

The first phase of trailblazers, involving more than 80 employers, was announced in October 2013. These employers in 8 sectors have led the development of clear and concise apprenticeship standards that will form the blueprint for new apprenticeships. Government published the first 11 standards yesterday (4 March 2014).

The Prime Minister was speaking at The Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry yesterday (4 March 2014) and welcomed the publication of these standards as well as announcing that our reforms are gathering pace with a second phase of 29 trailblazers in areas including Law, Media and Hospitality and Tourism. More than 340 employers are involved in the second phase of trailblazers, responsible for at least 45,000 apprenticeship starts during 2012/13.

Following the announcement, Matthew Hancock, Skills and Enterprise Minister said:

I am delighted that the first phase of trailblazers continues to be such a success and that leading employers in so many sectors can see the benefit of shaping apprenticeships in their area. I would like to thank them for their commitment and look forward to the first delivery of these new employer-led apprenticeships in 2014 to 2015.

We want to see apprenticeships become the new norm for all ambitious young people, and for employers who are dedicated to growing their own talent and increasing the skills base of the nation. These trailblazers are helping to make this a reality.

David Lynch, Head of Engineering at GSK, who are part of the first phase of trailblazers said:

The trailblazer initiative has given GSK the confidence to continue to invest heavily in both the quality and quantity of our higher apprenticeships.

Rapidly evolving technologies across our industry require our people to be equipped with new hi-tech skills and capabilities if we are to compete in the global economy.

Now through trailblazers we have been able to prioritise and direct specific skills training critical to our business success and at the same time support young people to develop and build towards sustainable graduate careers through our higher apprenticeships.

Being involved in trailblazers gives employers the opportunity to develop new apprenticeship standards for occupations in their sector. Once agreed, these become the industry standard for an apprenticeship in that occupation. New apprentices can expect to take part in reformed apprenticeships as early as 2014 to 2015.

The reformed apprenticeships will be:

  • employer-led and designed so they respond to the needs of industry, meaning each apprentice has the skills required by the sector
  • focused on quality so the apprentice has to demonstrate their ability through rigorous assessment at the end of their apprenticeship
  • based on a short and clear standards written by employers in language that they understand.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Trailblazers are groups of leading large and small employers within a sector who work together to develop new apprenticeship standards. The first 8 trailblazers began in October 2013 and have produced the 11 apprenticeship standards published yesterday (4 March 2014). The second phase of trailblazers has launched yesterday (4 March 2014) across 29 sectors. The standards produced by trailblazers will become the blueprint for apprenticeships in those occupations. We expect the first delivery of apprenticeships under the new standards to take place in the 2014 to 2015 academic year. From 2017 to 2018 all new apprenticeship starts will be on standards designed by employers.

  2. For more information on trailblazers, including a full list of the employers involved, please see the updated guidance we have published today (4 March 2014).

  3. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are 1 of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. They are committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

  4. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

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