Apprenticeship Application Support Fund launched for young people
Young people struggling to get an apprenticeship via the government's Apprenticeship Vacancy service are soon to receive support from a new Apprenticeship Application Support Fund.
Training organisations are being invited to bid to run projects around the country designed to increase the quality and success rate of applications for apprenticeship vacancies made by young people agesd 16- to 20.
The Apprenticeship Application Support Fund is being managed by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) on behalf of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) from whom £450,000 of funding has been made available. Bids must be of £25,000 or above in value and as a guideline; only eight- to 10 bids around the country are expected to be successful.
The basis of the project is to ensure that every young person applying for an apprenticeship, particularly those using the AV system, have every support to ensure that their applications present their capabilities and potential in the best possible light.
In the current ultra-competitive youth employment market, apprenticeships are seen as a valuable commodity by both young people and employers alike, yet often the application process itself can be the major stumbling block. The new fund intends to start the process of looking for innovative ways of addressing this common pitfall to ensure that those who are best placed to use their vocational talents are able to do so in fulfilling and sustainable apprenticeship-based employment.
Criteria for successful bids include:
? Optimising information and advice services available to users of the Apprenticeship Vacancy (AV) system
? Complementing choice and diversity agendas within apprenticeships by improving access to and developing application support services for under-represented groups, e.g. learners with disabilities
? Extending existing good practice by encouraging partnership, collaboration and consortia approaches
? Encouraging innovation and the development of creative solutions by the sector in addressing identified issues of concern regarding the quality of apprenticeship applications.
Bidders are also encouraged to set out how solutions could be sustained beyond the life of the grant funding.
Of most interest will be projects that impact directly on learners and employers utilising the AV system, although the fund managers will also consider projects that incidentally affect wider apprenticeship applications. Projects in priority occupational areas to engage hard to reach and disengaged groups of learners and new employer links will also be of particular interest.
Paul Warner, AELP's director of employment and skills, said: "It is important to recognise that solutions will not be 'one-size-fits-all', and therefore we are keen to receive bids which encourage new ideas and new approaches. In particular we would be interested to look at how under-represented groups in apprenticeships could be better supported in the application process."