Sector specific apprenticeship standards improved with more employer involvement

The automotive sector has become the next industry to improve apprenticeship standards as it launches its new Matching Service.  The move comes as the government advises that apprenticeship standards can only improve for both learners and employers if employers become more involved with setting those standards.

The Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service (AAMS), designed by leading employers in the automotive industry and funded by the Automotive Industrial Partnership, follows the launch of the Professional Accountancy/Tax Technician Standard in March, which has seen new standards being set for the audit, accountancy and tax industry.   The AAMS, partnered with GetMyFirstJob, will match the apprentice with the right employer or training provider, focussing on particular areas that are experiencing the most shortages in skills, such as engineering and manufacturing.  A recent survey, conducted by advanced manufacturing skills body Semta, highlighted that up to 5,000 job vacancies in the automotive sector were likely to be vacant due to a lack of skills, and highlighted the impact this could have on the productivity in the sector for the future.

By setting up these services and groups, it means future apprenticeships will be tailored more towards the specific industry by the employers themselves.  They are in the best position to design the apprenticeship programmes as they are the ones employing the apprentices, helping them grow their career and consequently growing their business.  By putting them in the driving seat they will therefore be able to address any gaps in skills, fill more vacancies and make their business more productive.

Further initiatives have recently been implemented to encourage more high quality apprentice opportunities in sectors, particularly for younger apprentices.  The apprenticeship levy is hoped to encourage more employers to invest in high quality apprentices.  The abolition of National Insurance contributions for apprentices under 25 years of age, which came into force on 6th April 2016, is also hoped to make young apprentices more appealing to employers.

The government is currently preparing to make announcements on future plans for apprenticeships, including more details on how the Institute for Apprenticeships will work.  The Institute for Apprenticeships aims employers more control over the apprenticeships they run, as well as monitoring the standard of those apprenticeships.  It is planned that more details on the apprenticeship levy will be announced by the end of April, with more details on funding caps announced in June.

The Aspire Training Team works with employers to find high quality apprentices in childcare, business administration and health & social care.  If you’re considering hiring an apprentice and have questions, you can contact the team on 01202 551553 or email

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