News

This
month’s news

Apprentice
scheme gets a shake-up

Education
and Employment Secretary David Blunkett has announced reforms to apprenticeship
schemes.

The
move follows revelations that less than one-third of Modern Apprentices leave
the scheme with an NVQ Level 3 qualification or higher.

In
an effort to clarify the relationships between the various elements of the
system, National Traineeships will become Foundation Modern Apprenticeships
(FMAs) and will lead to Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (AMAs). Advanced GNVQs
are to be renamed Vocational A-levels.

Changes
to the vocational learning programmes include a specified period of off-the-job
learning in college or with a training provider, improvements to the knowledge
and understanding requirements in the apprenticeship programmes, a specified
minimum learning period – two years for AMAs – and tighter entry requirements.

Blunkett
also announced he was considering setting up a work-based learning standards
fund to ensure that standards are developed in the same way as in further
education.

Training
show launches into cyberspace

The
Training Solutions and IT Training Shows which take place annually in July at
the NEC in Birmingham will also be open for business on-line this year.

Organisers
Brintex will run both exhibitions on the Internet before and during the live
event, allowing “e-ttendees” to explore 3D exhibition halls and stands from
their home or office over the Internet.

They
believe this will be the world’s first commercial interactive exhibition in
cyberspace. The technology is being provided by Expocentric.com

Brintex
managing director Malcolm Taylor said, “Time-poor customers will have access to
a show and products they wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to view.” The
scheme will also make the exhibition more accessible to overseas visitors.

To
gain access to the online exhibition, register for the Training Solutions Show
at www.training-shows.co.uk

Loans
to beat skills shortages

The
Government has unveiled plans for a new system of national, industry-based
portable loans aimed at beating skills shortages.

The
scheme would be transferable between employers if the employee changed jobs. It
would require employers in different industries to work together for their
mutual benefit while stimulating the expansion of training.

The
NTOs would be charged with developing and implementing the system. NTO National
Council Andy Powell said, “I believe the concept offers a real opportunity for
stimulating investment in training within each industry.”

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