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Press release

Government’s transport Apprenticeship drive must focus on quality not quantity

28 January 2016


The Government’s new transport skills strategy, which sets out how it will create 30,000 Apprenticeships in the road and rail sector by 2020, must focus on quality and not just be a numbers game, warns the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The announcement made by the Department for Transport today forms a major plank of the Government’s new Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy. It includes plans to help employers by creating more Apprenticeships but the focus must be on Higher Level Apprenticeships according to the IET.

Stephanie Fernandes, IET Principal Policy Advisor, said: “It’s vitally important to continue to invest in our transport infrastructure but without the pipeline of engineers to deliver these major projects, the UK will struggle to build the infrastructure it needs.

“It is important that this is not just a numbers game though. Quality must be the focus. Over recent years there has been a very welcome doubling of Intermediate Apprenticeships (Level 2) but it is critically important that the number of Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4) also increases in line with this to support the development of high level skills.

“The Government’s focus must therefore be on encouraging learners, supported by employers to progress to Higher Apprenticeships. This is vital in ensuring a highly skilled workforce, which will help ensure that the UK is globally competitive and can meet the growing demands of industry, now and in the future. It is more important than ever that Apprenticeships are recognised as an equally valuable route of progression to academia and professional registration.”

The Department for Transport, alongside its delivery bodies, including Highways England and Network Rail, will now work with their suppliers to ensure Apprenticeships are at the heart of contracts which will deliver the Government’s multi-billion pound rail and road investment programme.

Media enquiries to:

Robert Beahan
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7595 400912
Email: rbeahan@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 167,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.