Two-way radio apprenticeships: in short supply

Apprenticeships in the two-way radio sector are useful – when they are available. But that’s the problem: they aren’t always offered – especially technical ones. Vaughan O’Grady asks why

Apprenticeships in the two-way radio sector cover a wide range of functions. As Paul Griffiths, group head of HR with Sepura, says: “Roles are available throughout the business. We currently have apprentices making valuable contributions within our software, product marketing and IT, but all areas of the business are open to new joiners to apply for roles.”

And the courses, when offered, have real value. By and large, says Chris Pateman, CEO of the Federation of Communication Services (FCS), courses do, as the government requires, “give a career path equal to higher education”, and “feature 30 weeks’ employment each year”.

Vocational qualifications are, of course, not uniform. They range from Level 1 (which Pateman describes as basic, GCSE-standard comprehension, IT and literacy), through Level 2 (O level standard), Level 3 (A level standard), Level 4 (foundation degree standard), Level 5 (bachelor’s degree standard) and up to Level 7 (MBA standard).

“The whole panoply of vocational standards is cross-benchmarked against more conventional, academic routes at every level of achievement,” Pateman explains. “In reality, most first-jobbers will embark upon a Level 2 programme, progressing to a Level 3. Level 2 and 3 qualifications get the most attention, because they have historically been the ones which most obviously fit younger people for the world of work, and,” he adds, “the ones which have historically attracted taxpayer subsidy to cover the training costs and sometimes the employment costs.”

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