BEST raises GCSE selection criteria for craft apprentices

BEST (Building Engineering Services Training) has taken steps to encourage only the highest calibre learners to apply for the limited places offered by employers. The company is a leading training provider for the HVAC&R and plumbing industries and has raised its entrance criteria for craft apprenticeships. Business-development manager Linda Webb says, ‘So few employers are currently prepared to take on apprentices, we have had to turn away nearly 50% of the potential learners who had applied for apprenticeships for the new academic year 2005/6 and passed our stringent assessment process. This reflects badly on an industry with a well documented skills shortage and may discourage those keen to join it if they see so many missing out immediately. ‘Our focus on entrance criteria has therefore evolved through the need to limit applications next year to a more realistic quantity and to avoid disappointment to hundreds of young people. It enables us to screen potential apprentices to ensure that those we offer industry employers possess the qualities that will most likely see them complete their chosen programme.’ The new criteria require applicants for craft apprenticeships to have or expect to achieve GCSE grades A to C in maths, English literature or language, science or resistant-materials technology and one other subject. They are based on the recommendations set out by SummitSkills and are expected to ensure the highest possible retention and completion of the apprenticeship programme. The entrance criteria for engineering apprenticeships are unchanged and are the same as those required for craft apprenticeships.

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