The Open University has partnered with the Transatlantic Apprenticeship Exchange Forum (TAEF) to support the United States in its drive to expand modern and non-traditional apprenticeships.
Marking the start of US National Apprenticeship Week, 13-19 November 2017, the OU and TAEF have announced an alliance that will see both organisations work with a range of US partners, states and workforce bodies, as well as apprenticeship providers in the UK.
Exporting UK skills expertise
This new partnership follows recent comments by the UK Skills Minister, Anne Milton, on the immense value to be gained by sharing knowledge and expertise around skills with others across the globe. She said:
Learning from other countries, exporting what we can to help other countries, telling them what has and what has not worked for us, that is invaluable.
OU corporate director, David Willett, echoes the Minister's comments, noting that skills shortages is a "worldwide issue", making it vital that countries work together to share their experiences so they can learn from each other.
TAEF provides a fantastic opportunity to link up employers, educators, workforce bodies and communities on both sides of the Atlantic.
Five million new US apprentices
The President of the United States has recently committed the nation to a ‘moon-shot goal’ of creating an additional five million apprenticeship starts.
To achieve such an ambitious target requires a massive scaling up of the American apprenticeship model, something the OU has first-hand experience of in the UK. Tom Bewick, President of the Transatlantic Apprenticeship Exchange Forum says:
The UK has a huge amount of expertise in the apprenticeship space having massively scaled up its own apprenticeship system in the past decade and, with nearly 180,000 students, the OU has the experience and expertise of delivering learning at scale.
The OU has a powerful brand and international reach to work with employers, states and workforce bodies across the United States.
David Willett adds that though the US has its own mountains to climb before it can achieve its target, embracing technology-enabled learning, like that provided by the OU, will have a significant role to play. He says:
One thing is certain - if we can create over three million apprenticeships here in the UK in six years, the US can create five million in five years.
Learn about the OU's apprenticeships