As patron of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), Princess Anne visited the Army’s Food Services Wing to learn about the Army Apprenticeship Programme (AAP) and the Professional Cookery and Customer Services Apprenticeships for Army personnel.
NIACE is currently undertaking a comprehensive study of the impact and benefits to the Army of its extensive Apprenticeship Programme, and is looking to use the Army as a blueprint for other large employers and Government to follow.
The Army Apprenticeship 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.
David Hughes, NIACE’s Chief Executive applauds the Army approach to apprenticeships stating:
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 maximise the opportunity of apprenticeships. We are delighted that our Patron, 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.
Corporal Tejkumar Rai (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. 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.
Corporal Tejkumar said:
My Army training and apprenticeships have set me up for life, both 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 the training and experience gained during an Army career is accredited and nationally recognised.
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.
The Armed Forces is the UK’s biggest provider of apprenticeships, and there are nearly 500 different careers in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.