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Wed, May

Want apprentices?

Peter Kiddell of the Fespa UK Association explains why it has set up an apprenticeship support structure – and how you could be entitled to a £1,500 grant.

“Where are the young people in our industry?” was a question asked at recent Fespa UK Association meeting. There were several responses to this question but whatever the reasons, it’s clear that for print to prosper the industry must tap into the resource presented by young people, and offer a clear career structure and professional training.

To attract such youngsters into the wide-format print sector the association has set up a support structure, in co-operation with More Training, that helps industry understand the benefits of apprenticeships and how to achieve the best outcomes.

Mark Simpson, president of Fespa UK explains: “We recognise the vital part young people can play in our industry, not only from the provision of much needed skills but to give us a better insight into the needs of the target market that our products address. The association has to take the lead in this crucial aspect of our industry sector.”

The wide-format print sector offers numerous opportunities for youngsters to develop their skills and contribute effectively to the companies within it. Nevertheless, a number of issues mean we are seeing a real skills shortage. But a solution is in our hands - and the Government wants to help by providing significant funding and promotion for apprenticeships. There is now in place a partnership between employers, the provider, the Government and Fespa UK Association to create apprenticeships within the sector. In addition there is a £1,500 grant to companies who meet the criteria of being an SME and have not taken on an apprentice within the last 12 months. This is over and above the financial support for training and would apply to up to ten apprentices per company.

The Fespa UK Association Apprenticeship Project structure has two types of apprenticeships on offer:

- The Intermediate Apprenticeship, based on the Level 2 National Vocational Qualification that includes a Technical Certificate Level 2, Functional Skills Level 1, Employment Rights and Responsibilities and Personal Learning and Living Skills.

- The Advanced Apprenticeship, based on the Level 3 National Vocational Qualification that includes a Technical Certificate Level 3, Functional Skills Level 2, Employment Rights and Responsibilities and Personal Learning and Living Skills.

Apprentices would be expected to have at least the following qualifications:

 Four GCSE’s D-F for Intermediate (including English and Mathematics)

Four GCSE’s A-C for Advanced (including English and Mathematics)

The times required to complete apprenticeships are not fixed but they have to be long enough for apprentices to gain sufficient knowledge and skills in their particular disciplines to be able to fulfil the job role to the satisfaction of their employers. Intermediate apprenticeships would normally be completed in 12-18 months, Advanced in 24-36 months.

The apprenticeship can be delivered completely on your premises, or there’s the option of attendance at More Training too. Working within this structure means apprentices have access to the technical resources of the association and the specialist support of More Training.

In addition to the achievement of qualifications the association is also offering an award for the best performing apprentice.

Administration of an apprenticeship can appear daunting but the association’s apprenticeship structure provides a clear route through the process for both employer and apprentice.

At an initial meeting between the employer and More Training the relevant apprenticeship framework and mode of delivery will be agreed and the initial paperwork completed (health and safety etc). More Training will then manage the recruitment process through the Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service (NAVMS) which is free and/or local advertising (funded by the employer). More will provide advice on the type of person who is likely to be suitable and can sit in on final interviews if you so wish. Apprentices will have a two-stage induction programme and the employer, apprentice and More will work together to agree the content of the training programme.

More information, including funding details, can be found at apprenticeships@fespauk.com.

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