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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 5 April (WA343), whether they have initiated, or plan to initiate, preliminary discussions on routes to membership through apprenticeship with prominent professional bodies such as the Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Royal College of Nursing; and when those discussions will take place.
We believe that apprentices should have something to aspire to and be awarded recognition for their work, to create a sense of pride in modern crafts and occupations. We are keen that professional bodies and guilds are involved in developing a professional apprenticeship route and discussions with sector skills councils and the UK Commission for Employment in Skills about how this can be achieved are ongoing. We have had some preliminary discussions with a small number of professional bodies, but because of the number and diversity of professional institutions and associations we cannot engage with all of these organisations individually.
In addition we support the Technicians Council, founded by Lord David Sainsbury, which continues to provide a strong advocacy for apprenticeships for the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) community and enables a wide range of professional associations and learned societies to explore the opportunities offered by the apprenticeship programme.
This Government also recently launched the prospectus for a new growth and innovation fund (GIF), inviting proposals from employers, including professional bodies, to address skills issues in their sectors. As part of the GIF, we are encouraging proposals that position apprenticeships at the centre of enhanced professional or occupational standards.