The apprenticeship pathway can work for all and everyone

Back Heathrow team members attended the recent Hounslow Regeneration 2.0 Conference, skilfully and ably hosted by Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, where a range of business, political and educational stakeholders gave presentations on their roles in the future of the borough. It was fantastic to see so many people and businesses committed to making Hounslow a better place for both residents and businesses.

One of the presentations that really caught our attention was by Janet Rowson, head of Apprenticeships at the University of West London (UWL). Apprenticeships have long been one of the core pillars of the expansion promise, offering 10,000 apprenticeships to help young people locally into work.

At Back Heathrow we have often made reference to this offer as part of the wider Heathrow proposal, but what do we really know about the technicalities of what a modern apprenticeship looks like? In order to better understand this issue we listened with interest as Janet gave her presentation.

She introduced the topic by asking the audience how many of us knew that you could get a degree level qualification from an apprenticeship? Not many! Through the employer levy that was introduced in 2017, any company with a turnover of £3million or more can engage with the programme.

The employer must pay a salary, provide all the standard benefits of work and allow at least 20% time off for the apprentice to learn. If the employer is not eligible to pay the levy the apprentice is co-funded with the government.

From April 2019, for a non-levy-paying employer, the government covers 95% of the cost of training and assessing an apprentice. If an employer does pay the levy, it will also be able to transfer up to 25% of unused annual funds to other organisations.

UWL offers approximately 15 higher and degree apprenticeships starting at Level 4 intermediate to Level 7 masters level.

Across the wider UK, the number of apprenticeships starters has doubled from 20,000 to nearly 50,000 Since 2014-15. This includes a sharp increase in Level 6 and 7 apprenticeships at degree and master level.

The proximity of Heathrow means a strong relationship and the proposed new runway brings the potential for 5,000 new apprenticeship on top of the existing 5,000 already provided by the airport.

Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye later told the conference that Heathrow airport had forged close links over decades with the local community and many Hounslow residents have had long and successful careers at the airport.

Heathrow says that to ensure sustainable, long-term employment for Heathrow’s current and future workforce it has launched a new Apprenticeships and Careers Show. It will give attendees the chance to explore future skills and apply for live vacancies and apprenticeships. It focuses on three main groups:

  • Employers offering current job opportunities and apprenticeships
  • School and college groups of Year 11, 12 and 13 students who can visit exclusively on the first day of the event to find out about their future career options
  • Active job seekers of all ages and abilities who are looking to join Heathrow immediately.

In the interests of fairness, there are other Apprenticeship schemes available in the colleges and universities across west London and the Thames Valley. However, Janet’s presentation gave us a real insight into what modern apprenticeships let you achieve and how the apprenticeship pathway can work for all and everyone.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the apprenticeship pathway on offer at UWL, you can find out more at - https://www.uwl.ac.uk/for-business/apprenticeships


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