SOE News

RAEng and SOE agree on apprenticeship levy merits

7th Apr 2017

The Royal Academy of Engineering has joined the SOE in backing the new apprenticeship levy and wants any unspent funds to be spent on securing the future of UK engineering.

With engineering representing some 27% of UK GDP, the government is hoping the new levy will maintain the impact the UK has on engineering worldwide.

To achieve this, the Academy says, levy money not used on apprenticeships should be reinvested in the education network.

Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, says: “The Academy would like to see the government use unspent levy money to support the UK’s future global competitiveness in advanced manufacturing and engineering.

“This could be done by prioritising apprenticeships in the engineering sector, enhancing teaching and learning in further education colleges, promote engineering careers and ensuring that colleges and universities have up to date facilities for training that equate to those used in industry,” he says.

The three professional sectors of the SOE are all heavily involved in supporting engineers taking the apprenticeship route, recognising how employers are increasingly seeking individuals who have experience of the working environment.

SOE President Shaun Stephenson says: “The apprenticeship levy creates a great opportunity to strengthen the UK's engineering talent. By investing in apprentices, companies will ensure talent is in place to meet challenges of the next decade. SOE are working to assist organisations to recognise the full potential of their recruits.

“We want to develop our future industry leaders by employing individuals at an early stage of their careers. The most successful engineering business leaders have developed from apprenticeships,” he says.

The Academy echoes these sentiments, but stresses the importance of creating apprenticeships which offer a feasible path to employment.

Dr Morgan says: “The Royal Academy of Engineering welcomes the new apprenticeship levy. This is a unique opportunity to improve social mobility for many thousands of young people.

“However, it is imperative that government priorities high quality apprenticeships that lead to good career outcomes in high-value productive sectors such as engineering rather than low-quality, short duration apprenticeships that do not support the productivity agenda only to meet an arbitrary target of three million apprenticeships by 2020,” he says.

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