Apprenticeship Expansion in England: Lessons for the United States

England demonstrates that there are policies lawmakers can enact to dramatically expand apprenticeships, win industry support, and improve outcomes for workers and businesses.
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  1 Center for American Progress | Apprenticeship Expansion in England Apprenticeship Expansion in England Lessons for the United States By Sarah Ayres and Ethan Gurwitz June 6, 2014 From 2009 o 2012, England more han doubled he number o people saring appren-iceship programs each year, while also expanding he gender and occupaional reach o appreniceships. 1  As he Unied Saes looks o significanly expand is own apprenice-ship sysem, policymakers can learn rom England’s experience. In paricular, England demonsraes ha by increasing markeing, esablishing business oureach, and crea-ing financial incenives or businesses o sponsor apprenices, i was able o creae new appreniceship opporuniies ha boos worker’s employmen oucomes, improve  businesses’ produciviy, and generae new economic growh. Appreniceship is a orm o paid worker raining ha incorporaes on-he-job raining and classroom-based insrucion; i has been shown o boh raise workers’ earnings and improve companies’ botom lines. Alhough he raining model is a cenral elemen o he educaion and workorce developmen sysems in many counries, ew American  businesses or workers are amiliar wih he idea o an appreniceship. As oulined in a recen Cener or American Progress repor, “raining or Success: A Policy o Expand  Appreniceships in he Unied Saes,” 2  a large-scale expansion o he U.S. apprenice-ship sysem will boos our economy by helping businesses mee he demand or skilled labor and by connecing workers o well-paying jobs. Compared wih oher counries, he number o apprenices in he Unied Saes is rela-ively small. In 2012, he U.S. Deparmen o Labor’s Office o Appreniceship regisered 147,000 new apprenices, more han 90 percen o whom were men and a majoriy o  whom were employed in he radiional skilled rades, such as pipefiting and plumbing. 3  In England, more han 510,000 workers sared appreniceship programs in 2012. Afer adjusing or populaion size, his would be he equivalen o he Unied Saes saring abou 3 million new apprenices each year. 4  Significanly, more han hal o hese new English apprenices were women, and many o hem enered occupaions ha do no ypically incorporae appreniceships, such as business, adminisraion, and law. 5    2 Center for American Progress | Apprenticeship Expansion in England Bu England has no always had such an expansive appreniceship program. Tis issue  brie explores he srcins o England’s appreniceship sysem, highlighs recen policies enaced o expand appreniceships, and discusses he resuls o hese effors. I also sug-gess some implicaions or appreniceship expansion in he Unied Saes. Noe ha while here have been effors in recen years o expand appreniceships hroughou he Unied Kingdom, each counry operaes is own appreniceship sys-em. For example, as we have writen previously, Scoland doubled he number o new appreniceships rom 10,600 in 2008 o nearly 26,000 in 2012. 6  In his brie, we ocus exclusively on he appreniceship expansion in England. Origins of modern apprenticeships in England  Appreniceship has exised in England in some orm since a leas he Middle Ages,  bu only in recen years have lawmakers embraced he raining model as a key elemen o he counry’s educaion and workorce developmen sraegy. Indeed, he number o appreniceship sars grew rom abou 65,000 in 1996 o more han hal a million in 2012. 7  Te Conservaive governmen firs inroduced Modern Appreniceships in 1994 as par o a new compeiiveness agenda, promising o “provide a major boos o work- based raining and increase subsanially he number o young people obaining he echnical and craf skills which no only employers bu rade unions agree he counry has been lacking.” 8  Te goal was o address a growing skills gap by boh improving upon and scaling up exising appreniceship programs, while also expanding hem ino new economic secors. In paricular, lawmakers aimed o address criicism ha earlier job-raining iniiaives required oo litle o businesses in erms o raining, porable creden-ials, and employmen. 9  Tey esablished an accredied qualificaion or appreniceships and made sure hey ocused on skills developmen raher han sea ime. Lawmakers also ensured ha apprenices were considered employed and received a wage. 10  Te governmen se a goal o increasing he annual number o compleed appreniceships by 150,000 per year, o which 40,000 would be highly skilled “Level 3” appreniceships. 11  Following a change in power in 1997, he Labour governmen wen on o expand he range o appreniceship qualificaions offered. By 2001, in response o employer demand or more enry-level workers wih prerequisie skills, he governmen designaed Modern  Appreniceships as “advanced” and esablished a new “Level 2” or lower-skill apprenice-ships. 12  Furhermore, i esablished echnical cerificaion or apprenices in addiion o he appreniceship diploma, creaed incenives or younger workers o choose appren-iceships, esablished a minimum skills hreshold ha appreniceships mus achieve, and implemened a £16 million markeing campaign o improve employer engagemen. 13  3 Center for American Progress | Apprenticeship Expansion in England Expanding the modern apprenticeship program In 2009, in an atemp o address high levels o youh unemploymen ollowing he global financial crisis, he governmen iniiaed a comprehensive effor o dramaically increase he number o appreniceships. 14  As par o his effor, i creaed he Naional  Appreniceship Service, which has ull responsibiliy or markeing and delivering English appreniceships, and se ou o increase he number o apprenices by 50,000 by he end o fiscal year 2010–2011. 15  Te governmen has launched a naional markeing campaign, improved business oureach, and creaed incenives or smaller employers o sponsor appreniceships. 16  Recenly, as par o an announcemen inroducing new appreniceship reorms, Prime Miniser David Cameron affirmed ha increasing appreniceship is “an absoluely vial par o our [he Unied Kingdom’s] long-erm economic plan.” 17 Marketing  A major goal o he mos recen appreniceship reorm agenda has been o boos awareness among workers and businesses. In his spiri, he Naional Appreniceship Service, or NAS, launched a naional markeing campaign in 2013 called “New Era or  Appreniceships” o beter promoe appreniceships o sudens, heir amilies, and employers. 18  Trough mechanisms such as videos, direc mail, social media, and digial media, he Naional Appreniceship Service engages and inorms he public on he  benefis o appreniceships. Te markeing campaign aims o boos public awareness o appreniceship and educae employers and individuals on he benefis o appreniceship. One poser aimed a young people announces ha “Eigh ou o en apprenices rae heir raining as good or very good,” while anoher ad encourages employers o “Inves or he uure,” highlighing ha “82% o employers ake on apprenices o build skills in heir business.” 19  Tis “New Era or Appreniceship” markeing campaign can be seen nearly everywhere in England, including on London Underground posers, Facebook pages, and he supersides o axis, as well as in newspapers, magazines, and brochures. 20  Te nex markeing campaign is mean o urher change percepions o appreniceships among young people and heir parens, ocusing on he range o careers available hrough appreniceships, apprenice-ships offered by blue-chip companies, and he abiliy o ge a high level maser’s degree equivalen hrough some appreniceships. 21 Te NAS has also esablished a comprehensive web inerace ha offers poenial appli-cans a bevy o user-riendly ools o assis hem in heir search. Apprenice.v provides inormaional videos o assis prospecive apprenices in he applicaion process, and he online Appreniceship Suppor Pack walks he applican hrough he complee process. 22    4 Center for American Progress | Apprenticeship Expansion in England In a similar vein, he NAS has worked o creae a mobile app called App-reniceships,  which provides a se o ools o boh assis people in finding he righ appreniceship and o improve candidaes’ inerview skills and applicaions. 23  In addiion, he NAS has se up a sophisicaed appreniceship-vacancy maching ool o assis employers and prospec-ive apprenices. 24  Furhermore, he Appreniceship Ambassadors Nework engages new employers hrough business-o-business promoion, aciliaing conversaions beween curren employers and prospecive employers o apprenices. 25 Te NAS also coordinaes a Naional Appreniceship Week, 26  an exensive promoional effor ha aims o publicize he value appreniceships provide or boh individuals and  businesses. 27  Troughou he week, here are hundreds o evens o increase appreniceship awareness and demand. According o he NAS’s “pledgomeer”󲀔an iniiaive launched his year o measure he number o appreniceship commimens employers make during he week󲀔he 2014 Naional Appreniceship Week resuled in 20,000 new appreniceship openings, nearly hal o which were creaed by small and medium businesses. 28   Business outreach Trough comprehensive oureach o businesses, England makes i easy or employers o sar or expand heir appreniceship programs. A company ha is ineresed in sponsor-ing an apprenice can download a deailed “oolki” rom he Naional Appreniceship Service’s websie and call a holine o speak wih someone who can walk hem hrough he process. Larger companies wih more han 250 employees are assigned heir own regional accoun managers, who help hem develop heir appreniceship programs.  29  Te governmen has also designed a clearinghouse called he Appreniceship Vacancies Sysem o beter mach employers and apprenices. Employers use he online recrui-men program eiher hemselves or hrough an inermediary o updae heir vacancies. Tey can also review applicaions and selec final candidaes or appreniceship posi-ions. 30  Individuals can use he sysem o search or appreniceships. Searches can be narrowed by geography, key words, and job descripions, among oher hings. In 2012, more han 30,000 new employers posed appreniceship vacancies o he sysem. 31   As par o an effor o atrac “new and hard-o-reach” employers, he governmen is developing innovaive approaches o aciliae he esablishmen o new appreniceship programs. 32  For example, Appreniceship raining Agencies, or AAs, aim o reduce he adminisraive burden or companies looking o se up an appreniceship program; AAs essenially ac as he apprenice’s employer󲀔recruiing candidaes, arranging regisraion  wih he NAS, and placing he apprenice wih an employer. In reurn, he employer pays he AA a ee based on he apprenice’s wage and he AA managemen ee. 33  
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