In 2013, the government undertook a review of apprenticeships with businesses today. In light of the review, the apprentice system was completely overhauled to make them more robust and responsive to the needs of businesses.
The new apprenticeship system is called Trailblazers. The standards for these new Trailblazer apprenticeship schemes were released in a two-phase system, with the first being released in March this year and phase two released in August.
These Trailblazers apprenticeship schemes will work very differently from the old apprenticeship schemes, with both large and small businesses contributing from different sectors, and additional input from professional bodies. All of these organisations are designing new apprenticeships for different occupations in their sectors, which will separate and set them apart as ground breaking.
Whilst this is exciting news for the UK industry, what does this mean for your business? Ultimately, this depends on the industry you operate in, as currently, the Trailblazer Apprenticeships have quite a narrow industry focus, with the following sectors involved currently being:
Energy and utilities
Food and drink manufacturing
Life sciences and industrial sciences
If your sector is not currently involved in the Trailblazer scheme and you would like to work with other businesses in your industry on producing an apprenticeship, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
By 2017/2018, all new apprenticeships will be Trailblazers and there will be support for small businesses who take on Trailblazer apprenticeships, although there are no details on this as yet.National Minimum Wage rise
The National Minimum Wage increase from 1 October is significant as all apprentices now receive the minimum wage rather than a flat weekly rate. There is also a specific apprentice rate of £2.73 payable within the first year of their apprenticeship, rising to the figure payable for their age after the first year.
As employment lawyers we can give you some legal guidance on the Trailblazer scheme and what it means for you as an employer. Contact us on 01302 320621 to find out more.