Apprenticeship drive aims to combat employers' skill shortage

March 2016

The University launched National Apprenticeship Week with a business breakfast focusing on tackling the skills gap in industry.

Prof Ray Linforth, UCB’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, told invited guests that apprenticeships played a key role in the regional economy. “We employ dozens of apprenticeships ourselves,” he said.

Nicola Turner, lead for degree apprenticeships and skills policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said skills shortages were impeding growth for employers. She said: “Employers are struggling to find employees with the right technical skills, softer skills, commercial awareness, teamwork, the ability to communicate and problem-solving.”

Ms Turner outlined the advantages of higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships, where studies are centred on work commitments. Degree apprenticeships allow students to achieve full Bachelors degree status with the curriculum designed by the employer and delivered by the university partner in new formats.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, told guests about the “renaissance” of Birmingham and highlighted the huge investment being pumped in by major companies including HSBC bank, which is relocating the headquarters of its personal and business arm to the city.

The business breakfast is part of UCB’s planned activity for National Apprenticeship Week.