Apprenticeship plans

BUILDING SKILLS: The construction industry provides the bulk of apprentices. PA Photo: Toby Melville.

BUILDING SKILLS: The construction industry provides the bulk of apprentices. PA Photo: Toby Melville.

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NEW schemes to encourage and support the training of apprentices have been unveiled.

Economic Development Minister Allan Bell MHK outlined the measures in an update on apprenticeships to be laid before next week’s Tynwald sitting.

The average number of apprentices registered with his department at any one time is 438, the majority in engineering, construction, plumbing, car repairs and electrical installation.

Mr Bell said that overall the apprentice training programme continued to remain stable and perform well in terms of trainee numbers despite the difficult economic times over the past two years.

And he said that while trainee numbers were a useful measure, the true performance and value of the programme was only evident in the successful completion date.

Since January 2008, the rate of apprentices successfully completing their training has remained at more than 90 per cent and currently stood at 94 per cent.

Mr Bell’s report states that 56 per cent of all apprentices currently registered with the department were working in the construction industry.

But it says the limited number of places for formal apprenticeships meant that many young people were unsuccessful in securing their chosen apprenticeship.

Mr Bell said the department was looking to create a bespoke training facility with the aim of getting it up and running in 2012.

He said: ‘The department is developing proposals for a structured training programme with the aim of providing opportunities to train skilled operatives in areas outside traditional craft apprenticeships.’

The report says that the apprenticeship training programme for the engineering sector had seen strong growth over the past few years, rising from 33 in 2008 to 54 currently.

Turning to the hospitality sector, Mr Bell said this was area where it was felt progress could be made and there were plans for a revised foundation and apprenticeship programme to be set up next year.

There are also plans to create a retail training programme this year.

‘It would appear that while many individual employers provide in-house training, the sector would potentially benefits for a core training provision,’ the report states.

A foundation ICT apprenticeship is also planned to be in place at September this year to be followed by a structured programme for apprenticeship and advanced apprenticeship training next year.

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