A week in training: Apprenticeships, awards and the credit crunch

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newsThis week's round up of training news includes a wage rise for apprentices, positive noises about Time to Train proposals and a round up of industry awards.

Apprenticeships
The minimum wage for apprentices is set to rise by £15 to £95 next year, Skills Secretary John Denham anounced this week. The rise, set to affect 10% of apprentices, has met with criticism by employers' organisation the CBI who have warned that it may result in cut backs. And it seems the CBI may have a point as the government and Construction Skills have set up a clearing house to help find placements for those apprentices already laid off from the recession-struck building sector.

Credit crunch
Bad news too in the broadcast sector. Figures from the Broadcast Training & Skills Regulator (BTSR) 2007 Annual Report – to be published later this month – reveal that the number of broadcasters with dedicated training budgets dropped by 13% last year. The Regulator carried out assessment visits among 20 of the UK’s 68 broadcast companies that employ at least 20 staff and found that only 13 (65%) had funds set aside for staff training – and only two had training budgets of one per cent, or more, of their annual turnover. BTSR Executive Director Peter Block warned: “The recent flurry of Ofcom fines has shown all too clearly the heavy price broadcasters pay when standards slip. Our concern is that trimming training budgets could lead to further errors or misjudgements – and the penalties can far outweigh the cost of running a comprehensive training programme.”

Time to train
Having surveyed nearly 1,500 employers the Chartered Management Institute has cautiously welcomed the government's Time to Train proposals. However its Memorandum on Time to Train also warns that the proposals may be difficult for smaller firms, create more red-tape and strain employer-employee relations.

There was a more whole-hearted welcome to the proposals from TUC survey respondents, with 71% saying they would like to see new legal right to request paid time off for training. The YouGov poll also showed that 53% would be likely to use it.

Resources
BT Business has launched the Remote Manager’s Toolkit. Authored by Dr Frank Shaw of the Centre for Future Studies, it is designed to help close the gap in skills identified in new BT research showing that 88% of managers have never received training on how to manage remote workers and are not familiar with their IT requirements.

And the winner is...
What's your idea of an IT superhero? A geek in a superman t-shirt or the likes Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Tim Burners-Lee? Accelerated learning specialist Firebrand Training together with Computer Weekly is looking for the next generation of talent in its IT Superheroes competition.

Training superheroes have just days left to enter the World of Learning Awards. While those in the e-learning world are already down to the shortlist for their industry awards.

Meanwhile there are no fewer than 200 organisations and individuals who have reached the finals of the National Training Awards. Regional finals start this month, with the winners going through to the UK final in London in December.

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