The Government has launched a scheme to grade and assess apprentices in the energy and utility sector in response to fears of a widening skills and recruitment gap.
Viridor is one of 67 sector employers to take part in the Government’s apprenticeship reform programme, which was launched on 28 October by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Energy and Utility Skills Group estimates the UK’s energy and utility sector will need around 208,000 employees by 2025 unless the apprenticeship system is ‘radically’ restructured.
Under the plan all new apprenticeships in participating sectors would be based on the new standards from 2017/18.
The Government said funding for apprenticeships under current frameworks would no longer be funded as the new standards come online.
Eight sectors were chosen to ‘trailblaze’ the initiative before rolling it out nationally. The Energy and Efficiency Industrial Partnership (EEIP), of which Viridor is a member, was chosen by the Department for Businness, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education to spearhead the energy and utility sector programme.
Viridor head of training and development Chris Whittle said: “We are keen to be a part of this valuable initiative, taking more control of the training and development of our workforce.
“EEIP offers the chance of more affordable and better targeted training, free of some of the constraints imposed by what has traditionally been available. We are keen to collaborate with others in our sector to ensure that the skills we need now and in the future are supported by relevant and flexible training in an ever-changing landscape.
“We consider apprentices to be essential to answer the skills requirements of the future and welcome the chance to influence the content of their development.”
Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: “Our aim is that the new apprenticeships will focus squarely on rigorous training for learners and simplicity of use for large and small employers, who will be in the driving seat of apprenticeships in the future.”
At the scheme’s launch Cameron said: “We’ve been talking to some of the biggest companies in Britain, massive global brands where young people have a real opportunity to progress up the ladder, and they have said they want to offer 100,000 vocational training schemes for young people.”