The Princess Royal, the Army and NIACE lead the way in showcasing Apprenticeship quality

22 October 2015

NIACE is working with the Army to showcase their important work to deliver outstanding Apprenticeships – a blueprint for other large employers and Government to follow, which will help place quality at the very heart of the Apprenticeship agenda.

The Army’s Professional Cookery Apprenticeship programme, considered a model of good practice and endorsed as outstanding by Ofsted, is being showcased by NIACE at an event today attended by its Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

NIACE has worked closely with the Army since 2000, advising on the development of Army Literacy and Numeracy Policy, a remit which has now broadened to include Information and Communications Technology skills and Apprenticeships.

NIACE is currently undertaking a comprehensive study of the impact and benefits to the Army of its extensive Apprenticeship Programme. This Programme is one of the largest in the country with up to 18,000 Apprentices on over 40 separate programmes at any one time. It delivers high achievement rates well above the national average with around 7,500 completions in 2014-15. The NIACE study will be critical in establishing the return on this substantial investment, in recommending ways to improve delivery practice, and helping Government meet its target of 3 million Apprenticeships by 2020.

Corporal Tejkumar Rai, aged 37, joined the Army in 2005 and started his Level 2 Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery as part of his early specialist trade training in the Royal Logistic Corps. His knowledge, skills and attitude developed in training were extended and consolidated on the job under close supervision during his first appointment in his Field Army unit. Successful completion and subsequent promotion led to him undertaking and achieving his Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Customer Services in 2011. Following specialist instructor training, he is now in a training appointment and is planning to become a fully qualified NVQ assessor to enable him to assess future Apprentice chefs on the job. Currently on a Production Supervisors’ course at the Food Services Wing, the Armed Forces premier catering training school in Worthy Down, Winchester, Tejkumar  says “My Army training and Apprenticeships have set me up for life…in the Service and when I finally come to leave”.

Brigadier Suzanne Anderson, the Army’s Head of Education and Career Development, said:

“The Army’s Apprenticeship Programme is an integral part of our approach to the professional and personal development of our soldiers and is a central feature of the Army Skills Offer – an extensive suite of qualification opportunities that the Service continues to develop. Investing in our people not only means making sure they have access to high quality work-based training to prepare them for their immediate roles, but that all that training and experience gained during an Army career is accredited and nationally recognised. This is a win-win situation for the Army and our soldiers. Our current work with NIACE in reviewing the value and impact of our Apprenticeship Programme is an important benchmarking study to help in our on-going drive for further quality improvements.”

David Hughes, NIACE’s Chief Executive, applauds the Army’s approach to Apprenticeships. He said:

“As one of the UK’s largest employers of Apprenticeships, the Army truly sets the standard that other large employers and Government need to follow if we are going to maximise the opportunity of Apprenticeships. We are delighted that our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, is joining us to celebrate and share the learning from this outstanding programme.

“Raising quality and widening access need to be at the heart of delivering the Government’s objective to achieve 3 million new Apprenticeships within this parliament. This will help to drive the required demand to achieve this ambitious target and ensure a return on investment by employers, Government and the Apprentices themselves.”