Press release: Colleges set themselves apprenticeship target

Colleges have set themselves a tough challenge to mark Apprenticeship Week (23 to 27 February) – to employ 1500 apprentices by 2010.

In a recent survey of 130 colleges, 78% were already employing apprentices and the remainder were seriously considering doing so.

David Collins, Association of Colleges President, said: “The survey shows that colleges are responding to the recession and playing their part in taking on apprentices.”

“Given the importance of this issue to both Government and the opposition I believe we have a great opportunity as colleges to take the lead and show other public sector organisations our commitment to the apprenticeship initiative.”

“We would therefore like to encourage all colleges to look seriously at how they could take on a small number of apprentices as part of their workforce.

“We have so far identified almost 500 apprentices in the colleges we surveyed and we have now set ourselves a collective target of 1500 based on the information we have to date.”

Chichester College employs 30 apprentices across the business. Principal Richard Parker said: “At Chichester College we believe that apprenticeships are a great way of developing new staff.  Apprenticeships enable us to recruit people who want to work at the College and then through their apprenticeship we develop the skills they need.  We have a rising number of excellent staff, working in many areas across the College, who started as apprentices and they are making a significant contribution to our success.”

Further information on the survey:

·          Survey participants were asked two basic questions – 1) Do you employ apprentices at present?  If yes, how many and doing what.  2) Would you be prepared to employ apprentices within the college?  If yes, how many (approx) and doing what.

·         A total of 131 College Principals responded within five working days. This represents a response rate of 44%.

·         Of those that responded, 102 (78%) were currently employing apprentices; 29 (22%) were not.

·         Of the 29 (22%) colleges who were not currently employing apprentices all 29 (100%) indicated that they were prepared to do so. Nine of these colleges were already advanced in their plans

·          In colleges where apprentices were employed the number of posts on offer ranged from 1 to 31.

·          In total 497 apprentices were employed by the 102 colleges who offered them. This represents an average of approximately 5 per college. 

·          A total of 11 colleges were employing  10 or more apprentices; 17 were employing 1

FE Facts and Figures


·        727,000 16 to 18 year olds choose to study in colleges (compared with 447,000 in all schools)

·        Colleges provide 46% of entrants to higher education

·        Ethnic minority students make up 16% of learners in colleges compared with 9% of the general population

·        27% of 16 to 18 year olds in colleges are from the 15% most deprived wards in England (compared with 9.5% of 16 to 18 year olds in maintained school sixth forms)

·        64% of those in receipt of an Education Maintenance Allowances in 2005/06 were studying in an FE or sixth form college

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