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About Apprenticeships

Dating back to the 12th Century in the United Kingdom, apprenticeships are a long-established method of ensuring a steady supply of skilled labour. Nowadays most apprentices are learning different skills but the rationale behind what they are doing is the same.

In 1563, the Statute of Artificers and Apprentices forbid anyone to practise a trade unless they had first served as an apprentice for seven years. By the time of the Industrial Revolution many entrepreneurs found this legislation to be restrictive and eventually it was relaxed. Apprenticeships in the UK were improved by the introduction in 1964 of Industry Training Boards (ITBs), who published detailed training recommendations containing details of what was to be learned, the required syllabus, the standards expected and vocational courses to be followed. Apprenticeship recruitment peaked during the 1960s and ’70s, however with the decline of manufacturing in the UK prominence of this system waned.

In the “Golden Age of Work” of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, the traditional Apprenticeship Framework provided an alternative to A Level exams, allowing apprenticeships of between 2 to 6 years according to the type of apprenticeship and the industry. Young people were able to gain professional level 4 and 5 qualifications while also achieving work-based competencies, and progress on to Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas or advanced City and Guilds courses.

Apprenticeships were revitalised in the 1990s by the introduction of “Modern Apprenticeships”, the frameworks for these were devised by Sector Skills Councils and contain knowledge-based elements, competence-based elements, as well as key skills and ERR (Employment Rights and Responsibilities). The apprentice gains a Technical Certificate and an NVQ or similar certicate evidencing their competence in their chosen field.

Since 2009 the reach of apprenticeships has expanded to include sectors that have not traditionally taken on apprentices and there are now over 180 apprentice frameworks. In an effort to encourage apprenticeships, off-the-job training is funded by the government, while apprentices have a contract with their employers and are paid by them.

If you are interested in taking on an apprentice, or becoming an apprentice, call the Wyre Academy on 0333 10 100 68, or contact us