The value of building outdoor experiences into an expanding pool of apprenticeship opportunities
Apprenticeships are increasingly seen by those participating as a way to learn a trade, upskill or gain a degree whilst working and earning. Aside from the appeal for young people of embarking on life in the real world, debt free, apprenticeships are becoming more widely recognised for facilitating all-round personal development, fundamental to building a resilient workforce for the future.
Adding considerable value to this combination of practical workplace experience and training to develop knowledge, behaviour and skills, is the incorporation of the outdoors into training activities and programmes. Alex Coyle, Head of Skern Training and Skills, comments: “As a member of the IfATE Trailblazer Group, responsible for developing apprenticeships, Skern Group is pleased that the benefits of outdoor learning are receiving further recognition through the new Level 5 Outdoor Learning Specialist Apprenticeship.
“The credibility of the outdoors world is on the up. Apart from the physical health benefits, people who learn through outdoor activities are engaged, communicative and determined.
The Skills and post-16 Education Bill aims to enable a wider range of age groups to gain the skills they want, when they need them. Notably, Skern Group has seen a 50% increase in applications for its 24+ age group apprenticeships, as more people are deciding to upskill or retrain. Greater support to switch careers allows people to take control of their professional lives, while progressing their own personal development through training and skills development in the outdoors.
The rise in apprenticeships is not solely down to Government incentives and reforms to education. The perception of apprenticeships has significantly shifted over the past few years, and they are now regarded with greater respect as one of a range of options for young people to further their learning, alongside university degree courses and, currently less widely known, degree apprenticeships.
The IfATE launched a consultation on 16 July 2021 on the development and delivery of degree apprenticeships. The consultation received 208 responses from a wide range of organisations including higher education institutions (HEIs), employers and end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs). 85% supported greater integration of on-the-job and off-the-job training, 79% backed alignment with occupational standards, 73% agreed with integrating end-point assessment with the final degree assessment.
In response to the growing recognition of the value of apprenticeships Richard Thomas says: “As the world experiences the ‘Great Resignation’, employers are having to work twice as hard to retain staff members. By shaping staff culture and ethos from the outset, apprenticeships can help with the formation of a more engaged team. Through adding outdoor learning to apprenticeship training, a rich mix of outcomes can deliver an energetic, confident and skilled workforce equipped for the future.”