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Budget 2011: £180m boost for apprenticeships

Budget 2011: £180m boost for apprenticeships

IT can play a part in creating and supporting work experience and apprenticeship schemes

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Today’s Budget promised £180 million in funding for apprenticeships in a bid to create a more educated and flexible UK workforce.

The funding is expected to create up to 50,000 new apprenticeship placements over the next four years, and could build on IT schemes already in place, for example, at Accenture, BT, IBM and Microsoft.

CIOs were eager for the Chancellor to focus on skills ahead of the budget. IT industry representatives recently argued at a Westminster eForum that more internships and apprenticeships are needed to attract and keep IT workers in the sector.  

“In England, fewer than one in 10 employers offer apprenticeships. That’s got to change,” said Chancellor George Osborne.

To help small and medium-sized firms access these apprenticeships, the Osborne said that government grants will be provided to support business consortia to set up and maintain “advanced and higher” schemes creating 10,000 of these new placements.

The new funding is in addition to the government’s previously announced £1.4 billion apprenticeships programme.

Today’s Budget also saw the government revealing plans to double the number of university technical colleges it is establishing, to at least 24 by 2014.

These would be created through partnerships with educational institutions and businesses, and provide technical training to 11 to 19-year-olds.

“The sponsors will help set curricula to match the needs of the local economy and of their sectors, provide high-quality work placements, and allow colleges to use their specialist facilities,” the Budget report said.  

Last year, BT doubled its apprenticeship intake to more than 400 after receiving thousands of strong applications. This was followed by Microsoft pledging to create 4,000 UK jobs in 2011, including apprenticeships, after attending a ‘jobs summit’ with Prime Minister David Cameron.

Meanwhile,IBM launched its first-ever apprenticeship scheme for school leavers in August 2010, in addition to its graduate recruitment and student placements.

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  • Arunn Ramadoss, Micro Focus It is great to see the Government recognising the importance of addressing skill gaps within the UK which is of particular relevance to the IT industry It takes years to nurture talented individuals to a level of expertise global companies can depend on and young people entering the industry need support and encouragement and the chance to gain the appropriate experience For the UK to stand a chance of becoming an established power in the IT industry individual companies need to work together with schools and the government to ensure more students take an interest in IT and have the best possible resources at their fingertips Furthermore the industry needs to ensure that the current interest in new Web20 technologies does not overshadow the ongoing need for expertise with core business-critical IT systems as it is these which will continue to be the lifeblood of large enterprises for decades to come Many UK companies have the potential to become global success stories and our technology sector could be the growth area which this country so badly requires However for this to be the case we must ensure that we continue to invest heavily in developing the right IT skills for the futureArunn Ramadoss Micro Focus
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