Reacting to the publication of the Richard Review into Apprenticeships, James Clark, Secretary-General of the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA)—which established the BITA Academy with City of Bristol College—said:
"We welcome the findings of this thorough report, in particular the recognition that employer support needs to be embedded in apprenticeships and that course content must be rigorous.
"The engineering sector has a huge need for a steady intake of talented and motivated young people with the necessary skills to replace retiring employees. At the BITA Academy, employers have been actively involved from day one to ensure apprenticeships are tailored to the needs of the lift-truck industry. This benefits employees and employers alike.
"A proper apprenticeship is more than just a route into work – the experience and skills it provides allow people to flourish in their careers and rise to the very top. As such, apprenticeships are the cornerstone of career progression in industry. This crucial point perhaps isn’t widely understood but is supported by a survey of our members which revealed 45% of senior managers in UK forklift truck companies started their careers as engineering apprentices.
"At a time when the costs of a university education are higher than ever before, people are rightly reconsidering whether their job prospects reflect the debt they have to take on. Paid, vocational training via an apprenticeship sets you up for a rewarding career. With proper industry support, apprenticeships are an attractive option for school leavers."