The new pilot standards, known as trailblazers, have been developed as a result of a 2012 Government review which found that there were areas of the apprenticeship programme where substantial improvements could be made. The Trailblazers Apprenticeship standards aim to ensure apprenticeships are more rigorous and responsive to the needs of employers, and produce a fresh supply of talented entrants to UK industries.
Employers in forestry, arboriculture, horticulture and landscape are being urged to take part in a short consultation requesting their views on the proposed new apprenticeship standards. The consultation will run from 5-26 May 2015. The standards, which have been developed by various industry bodies led by Bartlett Tree Experts, outline key competencies, skills and knowledge required for apprentices. In addition to technical content, there will also be a focus on work ethic and requisite behaviours for each role.
The employer-led apprenticeships will also serve to address recruitment issues which have often afflicted the sector, as apprenticeships will be available to both school leavers at the start of their careers and older people looking to change careers. Research by Populus, conducted for National Apprenticeship Week, shows that 80 per cent of employers questioned feel that apprenticeships reduce staff turnover.
According to the National Apprenticeship Service, businesses who hire an apprentice report an average increase in productivity of £214 per week.
Simon Rotheram, managing director of Beechwood Trees and Landscapes said: "As a company that already employs apprentices, we have found them to be a great asset to our business. Involvement in the development of this new apprenticeship scheme is vitally important to ensure that the learning criteria meets the requirements of both employers and learners."
Steve Fowkes, business and markets adviser at the Forestry Commission said: "Trailblazers offer employers an unrivalled opportunity to make their voice heard in shaping the new apprenticeships and have a real input into the future workforce. Recruiting an apprentice will help companies develop fresh talent as well as benefitting the industry and the wider economy."
The consultation closes on 26 May, 2015. See http://lantra.co.uk/careers/trailblazer-apprenticeships-2015/arboriculture,-forestry-and-amenity-horticulture