Top apprenticeship provider DTL backs Fire It Up campaign

A leading apprenticeship provider to the construction and utilities sectors, Develop Training Ltd (DTL), is backing a new campaign promoting apprenticeships to young people, parents and employers.

The Government has launched the ‘Fire It Up’ campaign to coincide with the time of year when many young people are considering their futures. It wants parents, schools and colleges to highlight apprenticeships alongside more traditional academic routes.

DTL, whose customers include household names in construction, water and energy, says young people must be aware of the opportunities if a new generation of apprentices is to step up to solve Britain’s looming skills crisis.

John Kerr, DTL’s Director of Education & Training, said: “We are backing the Fire It Up campaign because we know one of the greatest obstacles to making apprenticeships work is overcoming decades of bias against vocational training.

“Far from the preconceptions some people may have, becoming an apprentice in the modern construction and utilities sectors is a huge step towards a well-paid, qualified and secure role, doing vital work keeping the country’s infrastructure running. It’s absolutely vital that educational institutions and families make sure our young people know about these opportunities.”

He said there was growing evidence that young people were predisposed to earn while they learn, rather than racking up large student debts by going to university.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to ensure we have a new generation in place ready to fill the huge skills gap in these enormously important industries,” he added.

DTL is an authorised apprenticeship provider under the apprenticeship levy, the scheme where large employers pay a per centage of their payroll into a fund that they can then use to pay for apprenticeship programmes.

The company, which has seven training centres across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, has been a leading campaigner for businesses to invest in training existing staff and new recruits to address the yawning skills gap in the UK’s construction and utilities sectors.

It has organised Industry Skills Forums attended by leading HR figures in the sectors to discuss issues related to the crisis, including how to maximise benefit from the levy.

As part of the new campaign, the Government is writing to school trusts who have not yet published information about how they will ensure providers of vocational education are able talk to pupils in their schools. It follows comments from the Prime Minister about the importance of young people being able to see that there are different routes into the workplace, including apprenticeships.

The Government is also writing to local authorities to remind schools about the requirement to make sure pupils have the full range of information about different career paths that are open to them.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “We are seeing the apprenticeship system in this country come of age, with leading employers waking up to the benefits apprenticeships can bring. The sad truth is that outdated and snobby attitudes are still putting people off apprenticeships which means they’re missing out on great jobs and higher salaries – many of them in the sorts of firms graduates look to land jobs with after university.”