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Home > News > January 2006 > 19-Jan-2006

Improve revises bakery apprenticeships

Improve, the food and drink Sector Skills Council, has revised the frameworks of the two levels of bakery apprenticeships.

Improve says the move will reduce the hours apprentices spend in the classroom and ensure more practical skills are delivered.

Their aim is to attract more apprentices onto the standard scheme, boosting the average number of starters from 65 per year to 90, and to reverse the decline in young people tackling the advanced apprenticeship.

Teresa Brookes, learning frameworks manager at Improve, said: "We have consulted employers and made changes to the apprenticeships in keeping with their recommendations.

"As in most food-and-drink sectors, bakery suffers from hard-to-fill vacancies, skills gaps, and an ageing workforce, with the majority of employees aged over 35. We see these revised apprenticeships as the ideal vehicle to bring more young people into the industry to help address these problems."

According to Improve, the main revision has been made to the advanced apprenticeship (modern apprenticeship in Wales) which takes approximately two years to complete and delivers a bakery NVQ at level 3. The organisation has removed the technical certificates from the framework.

"Recruitment onto the advanced apprenticeship programme in England and Wales has declined in the last three years, and consultation with employers suggested that this has been because of the introduction of the technical certificate," said Brookes.

"At the moment, an average of just 15 learners begin an advanced bakery apprenticeship each year and completion rates are extremely poor. By removing the technical certificates, we're confident that numbers will start to rise."

The standard apprenticeship (foundation modern apprenticeship in Wales) delivers a bakery NVQ at level 2. Improve says the the revised framework recognises that the knowledge element can be delivered and assessed through completion of the NVQ.

"Take-up onto the standard apprenticeship programme in England has remained consistent over the last few years, averaging 65 learners per year," said Brookes. "By further promoting the apprenticeship programme to potential learners and offering increased support to employers and learning providers, our aim is to increase take-up by at least 35 per cent over the next three years."

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