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NOCN Group will host its first Skills Summit on 25 March 2021 to help colleges, training providers, and employers to understand the various routes to develop the skilled workforce of the future.

This will include advice on navigating the new funding available for Traineeships, Apprenticeships, Entry Level to Level 3 qualifications, Functional Skills, and new technologies to enable learning and assessment on demand.

The Summit follows recent Government funding announcements designed to tackle the urgent need to get people back to work post Covid-19, as unemployment levels peak with younger and lower paid workers being the worst hit when it comes to job losses. A pledge of £126m boost for Traineeships in England and a new "flexi-job" Apprenticeship will enable apprentices to work with a number of different employers in one sector. This boost to existing Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes will include paying up to double the current cash incentive to firms who take on an apprentice, regardless of age.

NEW sector specific Traineeships

During National Apprenticeships Week 2021, the government launched new sector specific Traineeship pilots in construction and rail. Plans for these pilots were outlined in the Skills for Jobs White Paper which drew out the government’s plans to “drive quality up by going further in linking Traineeships to Apprenticeships in growth sectors such as construction and digital”. It added that these sector-specific Traineeships would “better align the content of Traineeships to the national system of employer-led standards, giving more trainees a better experience and employers greater confidence in offering work placements and taking on trainees”.

NOCN Group has worked closely with the Department for Education on the development of these new Traineeships and NOCN’s Traineeship offer in Construction, Business Administration, Health and Social Care and Hospitality is designed to offer a step-by-step, unit-by-unit route into learning and skills that help to increase learners’ confidence and employability and make sure that the qualifications fit with today’s industry needs.

The reformed Traineeship programme

The previous Traineeship programme was introduced as a flagship pre-employability scheme in 2013, created for 16-to 24-year-olds who were qualified below Level 3. The government is now expanding eligibility to those with A-level-equivalent qualifications and, once on the course, the trainee will take part in work placements with an employer that can last from six weeks to six months. They will also receive work preparation training and English and Maths training if lacking a Level 2 qualification.

The training is funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), but unlike Apprenticeships, trainees are not paid for the work they do. However, they are guaranteed an interview for an Apprenticeship or job at the employer at the end of the Traineeship, if one is available.

Graham Hasting-Evans, Managing Director at NOCN Group explains: “Up until this point Traineeships have had low take up and we need to turn this tide. The new sector specific programmes are designed to support young people, with little previous experience of work, but with a strong desire to work, into an Apprenticeship or employment in their chosen sector. This reformed and expanded scheme will see funding for thousands of new Traineeships for those aged 16-24, creating invaluable, future-enhancing, career-building vocational learning opportunities”.

Who are Traineeships for?

Traineeships are designed to help young people who are:

• Aged 16 to 24-years old
• Eligible to work in England
• Not currently in a job and have little work experience, but are focused on gaining employment
• Armed with an existing Level 3 qualification AND now those with A-level-equivalent qualifications
What do Traineeships provide?
Traineeships provide:
• Work preparation training, employability skills, CV writing, interview preparation and interpersonal skills.
• High-quality and meaningful work experience placements.
• English, Maths and Digital Skills.
• Vocational learning and qualifications with a focus on preparing the trainee for occupational standards within Apprenticeships or occupation specific employment.

Funding for Traineeships

The £126 million boost to Traineeship funding in England for “high quality” work placements and training for 16- to 24-year-olds hopes to attract a further 40,000 traineeship starts next year. This builds on the launch of the Government’s Kickstart Scheme in 2020, established in response to economic challenges following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Scheme was set up to fund the direct creation of high quality jobs for young people at the highest risk of long-term unemployment and a £2 billion fund has been made available to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. More information can be found here.

Raising the profile of Traineeships

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently stressed that awareness of traineeships is very low: "Besides providing additional funding for placements, the government will have to do much more to market them to employers to boost uptake."

NOCN Group’s Skills Summit will aim to raise the profile and awareness of Traineeships to colleges, training providers and employers.

Register for the NOCN Group Skills Summit HERE

Find out more about Traineeships from NOCN Group HERE