Apprenticeships & Vocational Pathways
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- Apprenticeships & Vocational Pathways
We support the government’s agenda to increase the number of Apprenticeships and vocational pathways, particularly within small to medium sized businesses (SMEs).
Oxfordshire traditionally has a tight labour market with generally low unemployment. One of our main strategies to address this is to increase the number of Apprenticeships and vocational pathways, particularly within small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) which are 99% of employers in Oxfordshire.
An Apprenticeship is a genuine job with accompanying training and assessment. It offers the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’, gaining valuable skills, knowledge and experience in a specific job role. We know that 93% of apprentices in Oxfordshire transition to sustained employment and 100% of higher (level 4+) Apprenticeship courses lead to sustained employment.
Apprenticeships can be used to upskill existing staff or to employ a new talent (of any age) and can offer progression to degree level and beyond.
Social Contract Programme
Our Social Contract Programme is an ambitious £1.7m programme of activity that provides support for employers, from small businesses looking to employ their first Apprentice to large employers looking to better utilise their Apprenticeship Levy. By retaining levy payments locally, it will support vital skills growth across Oxfordshire and help employers develop talent pipelines and retain key skills within the county.
Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Grant Scheme
The Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Grant scheme is available as part of the Social Contract Programme and aims to help remove barriers for residents looking to start or struggling to complete an Apprenticeship. Employers apply for the grant on behalf of their Apprentice/s. Grants available are up to £1,500 (up to £3,000 in exceptional circumstances) and can be used for non-statutory items such as travel permits, laptops to aid studies, Ofsted registered childcare, provisional driving licences and counselling/ mentoring for mental wellbeing.
Watch the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Grant Scheme launch webinar:
Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards
The annual Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards celebrates the achievements of Apprentices and those who support them along their journey, including school/college careers staff, employers and training provider individuals. OxLEP Skills manages the awards on a not-for-profit basis and categories are sponsored, judged and awarded by businesses and organisations.
Watch highlights of the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards 2022:
Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Ambassadors
Our Apprenticeship Ambassadors are current Apprentices who support our work to raise awareness of the benefits of Apprenticeships by sharing their experiences. We have Apprenticeship Ambassadors from a range of employers, including Abbott, Assure UK, Blenheim, DAF Trucks, GKN Automotive, Ignite Sport, Milestone Infrastructure, Oxford Instruments, OxLEP and the University of Oxford.
What it's like to be an Apprentice by Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Ambassadors:
Launched in September 2021 in Oxfordshire, T Levels, or Technical Levels, are after GCSEs and are the equivalent to 3 A Levels. The 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work.
T Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience, with the aim of equipping them with the knowledge and experience needed to progress into skilled employment, further study or a higher Apprenticeship.
Every T Level includes a relevant industry placement with an employer, focused on developing the practical and technical skills required for the occupation. These make up 20% of the course and last a minimum of 315 hours (approximately 45 days). An industry placement can be a block, day release or a mix of these and may be shared across employers.
This short film about Webexpenses illustrates the benefits of industry placements:
A Traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year, though most Traineeships last for less than 6 months. A traineeship is a course with work experience that gets a young person ready for work or an Apprenticeship. People can apply for a Traineeship if they are:
- unemployed and have little or no work experience
- aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3
- eligible to work in England