Institute secures £800,000 funding in bid with CFA

Aspiring HR professionals will soon be able to kick start their career with an HR apprenticeship, after the CIPD secured £800,000 of government development funding through a partnership with apprenticeship body CFA.

As many as 725 people could take the new Higher Apprenticeship in HR Management by 2016, setting them up for a career in HR as well as developing their broader professional business skills.

The funding available for the qualification is part of the government’s strategy to address record unemployment rates and concerns about future skills shortages. An £18.7 million fund to support 19,000 higher apprenticeships was announced last December.

Development of non-traditional career routes such as apprenticeships could help address high levels of youth joblessness and support fair access into the professions.

Stephanie Bird, CIPD director of HR capability, said: “The HR apprenticeship will help to attract the brightest and best talent to a profession that has a crucial role to play in driving productivity and growth for organisations.

“HR is a rewarding career of choice in itself and can also provide a route into other business disciplines. Gone are the days when HR was a predominantly administrative profession: today’s brightest HR professionals display a huge amount of business savvy and are real agents of change who contribute significantly to sustainable organisational growth.”

The CIPD is now inviting HR professionals and employers to register their interest in contributing to developing the scheme.

John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, said: “I want more bright young people to build careers in vital professions like HR, and to receive nationally recognised training to the highest standards. By giving practical learning the same status and recognition as academic study, the government will help build a stronger economy and redefine the concept of higher education.”

There has been an enormous expansion of apprenticeships in this parliament, with government figures for the 2010/2011 year showing 442,700 new apprenticeships – 163,000 more than the previous year, and almost double that of 2005/2006.

Some commentators have expressed concerns about the dilution of the apprenticeship ‘brand’ through such rapid expansion, and the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee are to start an inquiry this month into apprenticeship policy.