Thursday, 27 November 2008

News from Sir Alan Sugar


Sir Alan Sugar will be the face of apprenticeships in England in a new TV advertising campaign, ministers announced today.

The self-made business leader and star of TV’s The Apprentice will front a high-profile advertising campaign being aired from February 2009 promoting the benefits of taking on apprentices to employers and championing work-based qualifications.

It comes as the Education and Skills Bill received Royal Assent and became law – landmark legislation today welcomed by high-profile employers, charities, trade unions and professional associations.

This will mean that all young people will stay in education or training until the age of 18 from 2015 and more adults across England will be given the legal right to free training.

The legislation builds on ongoing reforms to expand participation to 18 - through introducing new Diplomas and extending work-related learning, alongside more traditional qualifications such as A-Levels and GCSEs.

Ministers hope to bring forward new legislation – at the first opportunity – to strengthen and massively expand apprenticeships, with the number on offer increasing to around 400,000 in England by 2020 – covering one in five young people, compared to just one in 15 at present.

The new legislation will also help many more adults take advantage of the opportunities of an apprenticeship with an aspiration of 250,000 people beginning their training by 2020.

Ed Balls, Children, Schools and Families Secretary, said:

“Sir Alan Sugar is synonymous with success, hard work and determination – so it’s great to have him on board. I know young people and employers will listen carefully to his support for apprenticeships and that his backing will ensure that they are given the recognition they deserve.

“Expanding and strengthening apprenticeships is a key stepping stone to addressing the need for skilled workers, dealing with challenging economic times and paving the way toward extending the education and training age to 18.

“This legislation is the biggest change to education and training in a generation and will benefit millions of young people for decades to come. This is a bold step and one that we have not taken lightly. Everyone must continue learning if we are to have a fair society where all young people have a chance to do well in life. Too many young people drop out or end up in dead-end jobs with no prospects of promotion or advancement.

“A job for life is a thing of the past. Young people without qualifications are going to find it increasingly difficult to gain employment. We must have an evolving education system that reflects the requirements of employers and the fast pace of change in business. No young person should be left behind.

“We do not expect every 16 and 17 year old to remain in school – young people will be free to work as long as they are learning too. This system is about creating real opportunity all so there is something for everyone.”

John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said

“We have rescued and expanded apprenticeships, ten years ago only 65,000 people started one and today that figure has almost trebled to more than 184,000. And we have driven up the chances of completion, in 2001/02 completion rates were 24 percent and today they are 63 per cent. We want to see many more people having the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship with at least 250,000 doing so by 2020.

“Sir Alan Sugar has proved that hard work and commitment can lead to success, and many apprentices share those qualities. I hope that even more individuals and employers take advantage of the opportunities that our expanded and improved apprenticeship programme offers them.

“The expansion in apprenticeships is backed up by today’s historic Education and Skills Act. For the first time all adults in this country with very few or no skills have a legal right to free training, meaning that they have the opportunity to realise their full potential and improve the lives of their families.

“In addition we are offering a legal right to all young people up to 25 to gain the essential technical skills needed by business to boost their chances to progress in their careers and contribute to our economic success.

“Ensuring people have the chance to obtain a wide range of skills, whether by doing an apprenticeship or doing a vocational course is the most effective way to boost the life chances of those with very poor skills and support social justice.”

Sir Alan Sugar said:

"Young people need choices that motivate them - not everyone who leaves school at 16 has the drive to succeed that I did. The fact is that some people learn better on the job or by seeing how their learning applies to the real world – that’s why I’m backing apprenticeships.

“People who do apprenticeships become ambitious, they’re ‘doers’, the kind of people who will make things happen. These are the qualities I look for in people. Success is all about finding people like this – people who will help make any business grow, especially in times like these. It’s important that employers take apprenticeships seriously – apprentices make things happen and can help a business to grow and thrive. "

Education and Skills Act 2008

The key elements of new legislation are:

· Education and training age raised to 17 by 2013 and to 18 by 2015 – ensuring that every young person is in some form of recognised education or training until they are 18. No young person will be forced to stay at school there will be a range of opportunities, including, part time training alongside employment, work based learning and apprenticeships.

· Giving all adults in England from August 2009, the legal right to funding for:
basic skills courses (literacy level 1, numeracy entry level 3);
a first level 2 vocational qualification (the same standard as 5 good GCSEs);
a first A level equivalent (level 3) qualification for all 19-25 year olds (including vocational qualifications at this level).

· Enshrining in law that all adults are entitled to basic skills (including literacy and numeracy), first GCSE-level vocational (level 2) and 19-25 year olds their first A-Level equivalent qualification (level 3).

· improvements in the quality of information, advice and guidance and support available to young people by:
o transferring the responsibility for delivering the Connexions service to local authorities, enabling more integrated and targeted support; and
o making it clear that it must be impartial and in the best interest of the young person. Makes improvements to the regulatory regime for independent and non-maintained special schools.

· legislative changes to put into effect the Secretary of State for Children’s announcement on 14 October of an end to key stage 3 tests from summer 2009; and

· toughening up compliance with the mandatory School Admissions Code – requiring all local authorities to report annually on whether schools are complying with the mandatory Code and widening the independent watchdog, the Office of the School Adjudicator’s powers, to investigate and deal with unlawful admission arrangements.

Notes to Editors

1. More than 130,000 employers currently hire apprentices and there has been a three-fold increase in the last decade in the numbers available. There are more than 180 types of apprenticeship available in more than 80 sectors of industry and commerce

2. To find out more, employers should visit or call the apprenticeships helpline on 08000 150 400.

3. Commenting on the Education and Skills Bill getting Royal Assent:

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