26 Oct 2023
by APSCo United Kingdom

Upskilling the Nation - Recruiters are the Link

Skills shortages, deficiencies of the apprenticeship levy scheme and challenges recruiting and retaining staff are all issues members have long reported to us, pre-dating covid and borne out by our research and our recent paper on people strategy.

I have been a DfE skills Intermediary Ambassador for some years. At a recent meeting, hosted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) I was thoroughly enlightened by the opportunities available to employers and the role our recruitment sector can play.

The opportunities for our members and their clients to get involved in supporting the education landscape, and the benefits it can bring,  are clearly explained in this guide and index produced by the government in partnership with business.

Government skills training is certainly not limited to apprenticeship schemes, although other ambassadors described how apprenticeships have changed lives and been a significant boost to their businesses. We heard a personal perspective of the Skills Bootcamp from an inspirational learner who described her mid-life experience learning new digital skills and being offered an interview with Microsoft (a job interview is a guaranteed part of the programme) where she now has a managerial role.

Could recruiters play a central role, in getting their clients involved in the programme, and arranging job interviews for learners? Michael Houlihan CEO of Generation UK certainly thinks so as he confirmed in an interview with Recruiter.

The DfE were very keen to stress that T levels, a new vocational qualification, are up and running with thousands of learners across the country. They are central to the Advanced British Standard, announced recently by Rishi Sunak. DfE are aware of confusion arising that T levels may be phased out, which is not the case and more detail has been provided from the Skills Minister Robert Halfon MP.

Work experience forms a fundamental part of the qualification, and how could we get involved in matching and supporting schools and our clients? An overwhelming theme at the meeting and across sectors was the lack of knowledge among employers, students, schools and colleges about Further Education (FE) opportunities available and how employers can support these opportunities.

There was a sense of frustration that schools are measured by A level outcomes and funnel their young people into higher education as the default. More education for learners and schools on other routes into a meaningful career and success in the workplace was highlighted as critical.

As recruiters and outsourcers we are experts on the world of work and have much to offer in this space from education, introductions, through to mentoring. Here at APSCo UK and OutSource we're looking at how we can play our part in 2024.

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