Today’s unionlearn skills summit held at Weston College focused on the need for high quality skills programmes and how these lead to sustainable employment opportunities benefitting young people and employers.
The skills summit hosted by unionlearn and Weston college brought together unions, employers, the local enterprise partnership, the Skills Funding Agency and other skills bodies to discuss how to ensure that the skills programmes created by the development at Hinckley point provide young people with high quality learning (and earning) opportunities.
Guy Hazlehurst from EDF underlined how high quality apprenticeships were fundamental to the success of the development at Hinckley Point. He commented that in some of the relevant trades the average age was 54 so apprenticeship opportunities were absolutely imperative. There is a commitment to offer 1000 apprenticeship places, as part of the development. This number was increased and agreed after conversations with the relevant unions. Every worker on the job has to have a career development plan which includes looking at the skills that need to be developed to enable progression to higher level apprenticeships/jobs.
Will Bowden from Babcock also highlighted the union negotiated traineeship as a great example of how to support young people, who had achieved D and E in English and maths grades, get onto an apprenticeship programme. Union negotiated financial support was key to making this happen. After a completing their traineeship which included an 8 week traineeship all young people who wanted to progress to an apprenticeship were able to do so.
Tom Wilson, unionlearn Director, presented Babcock with the unionlearn quality award in recognition of their high quality apprenticeship programme which was developed in partnership with the trade unions.
Union official Paul Tucker from GMB, one of the unions involved in negotiating the apprenticeship and traineeship programmes at Babcock said:
Apprenticeships have always been top of the agenda for GMB within the yard and it means a lot to the workers to see apprentices complete their apprenticeships and progress into employment. The unions work very closely with management on the apprenticeship programme to make sure it's a good quality opportunity. We make sure that kids don't get short changed and receive a good apprenticeship. The company is of the same view so we have got a good scheme!