Covid bulletin #44: National Apprenticeship Week
You can access all of the Covid-19 bulletins on ISE insights.
Latest Covid-19 data
The UK has now had over 3.9 million identified Covid-19 cases and 121,674 deaths (with Covid on the death certificate). The R rate is estimated to be between 0.7 and 1 with the daily infection rate shrinking by between 2% and 5%.
Both the number of cases and the number of death is now falling from the peak. The number of new cases is now below the November average while the number of deaths still remains higher than the average in December.
- The number of vaccinations administered globally has surpassed the number of cases reported. But, there are concerns that vaccines may not protect people against all of the variants of Covid and that boosters may be required.
- Debate is beginning about when to lift the current lockdowns in the UK.
- The Prime Minister says that it is still too early to book summer holidays.
National Apprenticeship Week
- It is National Apprenticeship Week when the government and the apprenticeships sector encourage everyone to find out more about apprenticeships.
- Small and medium sizes employers have been speaking out about the value of apprenticeships to their businesses.
- There are concerns that apprenticeships are not engaging enough people from BAME backgrounds.
- Debate has been going on about how apprenticeships could play a role in the post-Covid recovery. But, there are particularly concerns about apprenticeships in hard hit sectors like hospitality. Labour have been calling for the government to use unspent levy funds to provide wage subsidies for apprentices.
- Apprenticeship providers have been told to reapply to remain on the government’s register of providers.
- The prolonged school closures and move to online learning have led to concerns about the impact on young people. In particularly there is concern that the attainment gap between better off and less well off students may have grown. The impact of Covid on education is not confined to the UK and has been observed internationally with the OECD reflecting on the lesson’s for education in the crisis based on international evidence. The Conversation has reviewed the evidence on school closures.
- Various possibilities are being considered to address learning lost during the pandemic. These include extending the school day or increasing learning time in some other way, but head teachers have dismissed some of these ideas as gimmicks while teaching unions have argued against extending the day.
- The government is planning for universities to return to campus from 8th March although Vice Chancellors warn that Covid will keep most students away. New research suggests that students are open to a more blended approach going forwards.
- The government have continued with plans to cut the Union Learn fund which supports education and training for workers in unionised workplaces.
- The Governor of the Bank of England expects a spending splurge once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
- Retailers have been calling for more help due to lost sales in Covid.
- There are concerns that the economic impacts of the pandemic have been particularly felt by women and that recovery plans have focused on male dominated industries.
Student recruitment and development
- The labour market continues to look very weak for young people. But there are still some organisations hiring young people. Charlie Ball gives his take on the graduate labour market.
- Employers continue to adapt their approach to student attraction (including new ways to work with schools), assessment and placements in 2021.
- Employers are engaging with Kickstart as a way forward in student recruitment.
- The media has been discussing the role of AI in recruitment and selection.
- Brexit is also continuing impact on student recruitment with new visa regulations for international students.
Key issues raised by ISE employers over the last week.
- Employers are reporting low levels of engagement by students in university organised online careers events. They would also like universities to provide them with better data from events. Some employers report being stretched given the number of online events that are being organised.
- Some concerns about the loss of laboratory and technical experiences from those employers that recruit students from scientific degrees.
- There are concerns about the new visa rules and how they will affect the recruitment of international students.