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Could Your School Benefit From Taking On An Apprentice?

From plugging staff gaps to lightening the administrative load, schools can stand to gain a great deal from taking on an apprentice, says National Schools Training Director, Lee Povah… Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase of over 60% in the number of schools taking up apprenticeships, as more school leaders see the multiple […]

Lee Povah
by Lee Povah

From plugging staff gaps to lightening the administrative load, schools can stand to gain a great deal from taking on an apprentice, says National Schools Training Director, Lee Povah…

Over the past year, we’ve seen an increase of over 60% in the number of schools taking up apprenticeships, as more school leaders see the multiple benefits and contributions that an apprentice can make.

Not only do apprenticeships in schools help create local employment opportunities, they also provide an alternative progression route for school leavers – one that’s often highly desirable to young adults and schools alike. Schools can offer apprenticeships as a career path to current school leavers, allowing them to choose hard-working and talented candidates that they already know are trustworthy and competent.

Training new talent

Offering apprenticeships can help attract new talent into the schools sector and be an efficient way of recruiting and developing school support staff. Each learner’s training is either funded or subsidised by government – apprentices aged 16 to 18 are fully funded, and schools can decide on the rate of pay they offer (above the minimum wage of £3.30 per hour) while they learn.

It can be also a solution for replacing staff when they leave or retire. The various roles in which apprentices can support schools include:

Teaching Assistants There is an increasing demand for properly trained support staff in schools, in which apprentice teaching assistants (TAs) can play a crucial role.

Supporting pupils, parents and colleagues, they work alongside teachers in setting up, managing classroom behaviour and tidying up at the end of lessons. Whilst an intermediate-level apprentice will receive supervision at work, a more advanced apprenticeship position can provide schools with learning support staff able to demonstrate competence across a range of responsibilities.

In the course of their studies, apprentice TAs will undertake units on, among others, how to support learning activities, how to safeguard the welfare of children and how to build lasting professional relationships.

Business Administrators Taking on an office administration apprentice is a good option for schools looking to upskill their workforce, while increasing their capacity and freeing up time for existing staff to concentrate on other tasks.

Learners can take on a variety of roles, such as administrator and receptionist, before moving on to other positions – perhaps administration executive, officer, team leader, PA or secretary. A tailored framework for each school will ensure that the training business administrators receive is relevant to both their needs and those of the school, to the benefit of both parties.

Charlotte Harrison-Bryant, for example, began her Level 2 Business Administration apprenticeship at St John Rigby College. The college kept Charlotte on to complete her Level 3 training, and she is now responsible for ensuring the smooth running of reception and various other administrative tasks. “I have improved many skills and learned new skills,” says Charlotte. “This apprenticeship has affirmed my desire to pursue a career in business and administration.”

Catering staff A catering apprentice will train in preparing, cooking, and serving meals. They will assist the school’s catering staff with serving large volumes of meals by ensuring that recipes and portion controls are correctly followed and the relevant kitchen documentation fully completed, while at the same time minimising waste and seeing to it that stocks are properly maintained.

At the end of their training the apprentice will be awarded with a nationally recognised Catering and Professional Chef qualification, making them an ideal candidate for any catering vacancies that a school might have.

Apprenticeships are set to play a big part within education throughout England. National Schools Apprenticeships’ government-backed ‘One by 2020‘ campaign is challenging every school in England to hire at least one apprentice by 2020. There’s still a long way to go, but we’ve already seen significant progress, with over 500 schools having now taken on at least one apprentice.

National Schools Training (NST) is England’s largest provider of school apprenticeships; schools can register their interest in employing an apprentice by filling out the form located here

For more information, visit nationalschoolstraining.co.uk or follow @NationalST

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