During National Apprenticeship Week last week, the BPIF celebrated approval of its Trailblazer Apprenticeships and is looking to boost these with a mentoring system to link apprentices to their peers.
The National Apprenticeship scheme was first proposed in 2014 in line with government strategy to make apprenticeships more popular. But where government wanted a single apprenticeship training programme to cover all skills in the print process, the industry submitted plans for more specialist schemes focusing on prepress, machine printing and finishing areas.
The industry has been successful in pressing its case. The government has approved the Print Trailblazer. There are three elements to the now approved publication. There is a confident message about why the industry is an attractive choice; that there are three roles that youngster can focus on and that the requirements for each are spelled put clearly and unambiguously.
Spokesman James Buffoni says: “The team has now successfully highlighted the core skills, knowledge and behaviours required by future apprentices. Thank you to everyone involved. This has been a rigorous process that has required perseverance from everyone.”
The work will not focus on implementation, how apprentices are to be assessed and having that approved in order for training providers can build the programmes to put the Trailblazer into effect.
Even before then, the BPIF is acting on a suggestion made by the Apprenticeship Council made in November that there should be peer mentoring support scheme. This is now being put into place so that new trainees can confer with existing apprentices.
This will create a stronger support network, source of guidance, shared knowledge and networking opportunities. Companies are less likely to recruit more than one or two trainees at any one time than in the past when a new cohort might join every year. The use of email, social media and video can overcome some of the isolation that a young recruit might feel.
The BPIF's peer mentoring scheme will be a non mandatory part of an apprenticeship working on an opt in basis both for mentor and mentee. The experience will boost the CVs of participants and give apprentices greater confidence.
The decision to accept the printing industry's approach to Trailblazer Apprentices has been welcomed by James Buffoni who has chaired the BPIF led initiative. Now the aim is to roll out to assessors and set up a mentoring scheme for apprentices.
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