The head of the industry training and skills organisation warned of a skills shortage due to government funding cuts at last week’s presentation of awards recognising the ‘best of the best’ apprentices.
Winners and finalists at the Institute of the Motor Industry for the Outstanding Achievers Awards gathered at the Institute of the Motor Industry’s headquarters acknowledging their role as role models and future leaders, selected from more than 100,000 learners within the IMI network of more than 660 centres.
“The finalists of our awards work in a sector where advancing technologies put skills in high demand and where high customer expectations mean that having the best personnel is vital to the success of a business”, said Steve Nash, IMI chief executive.
“The finalists who have reached this stage form a vital part of the future of an industry which is a critical part of the UK economy.
“The future is bright for these individuals. But we have a concern that it will be less positive for those coming up behind them – and the employers looking to address the ever widening skills gap.
“The Department for Education and Skills published proposals in August that would cut state funding for some vocational training courses for 16-19 year olds by as much as 50%.
“Many businesses fear they won’t be able to secure apprenticeship places at these new rates because the courses won’t be economically viable for providers to run.
“The changes are due to be implemented next May and, coming on top of the introduction of the new apprenticeship levy and the introduction of a new type of apprenticeship which requires employers to take on the administrative burden, we feel more time is needed to make sure employers fully understand and are ready for the changes.
“The alternative is that many employers may simply not take on trainees – and this could severely limit opportunities for young people who could miss out on an opportunity to build a career in the way that this year’s Outstanding Achievers Award winners have been able to do.
“We are urging government to ease back on the timescales, allowing employers to catch up and work with organisations like the IMI to develop a full suite of new standards under the new funding model, rather than artificially force the pace by slashing the funding for existing frameworks.”
The winners of the 2016 IMI Outstanding Achiever Awards
Approved centre of the year
Winner: Mercedes-Benz UK (Apprentice Academy and Technical Training Centre)
New College Lanarkshire
Specialist Centre of the Year
Winner: Nationwide Just Car Clinics
Outstanding Student in…
Winner: Gemima Christodoulou-Peace
Winner: Dexter Truscott
Bus & coach
Winner: Brian Henderson
Winner: Andrew Gault
Winner: Chloe Barnett
Finalist: Jessica Wallis
Winner: Alexander Robertson
Finalist: Darius Harrison
Winner: Kieran Daniel
Young student of the year (14-16s)
Winner: Saskia Charnock
Finalist: Daniel Swallow
Picture: IMI Patron, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent with IMI apprenticeships outstanding achievers 2016