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Library and Information Sector Apprenticeships

Library and Information Sector Apprenticeships

As the professional association for everyone working in knowledge, information, data and libraries, CILIP believes that apprenticeships provide employers in all sectors with an opportunity to attract, retain and nurture diverse talent.

Until recently, there was no sector-specific Apprenticeship Standard for the library and information profession. While some sector employers have effectively ‘built’ one from existing apprenticeships (in, for example, Customer Service) it was felt that the lack of a sector-specific standard was discouraging employers.

In May 2017, motivated by the Government’s announcement of the introduction of the Apprenticeships Levy CILIP kicked off a sector-wide survey to gauge the appetite for the introduction of a sector-specific Apprenticeship.

We received over 400 responses showing:

  • C. 30% of respondents are actively considering offering sector-specific apprenticeships
  • C. 50% are unsure or undecided
  • Levels 3,4 and 6 are most needed, with level 3 most likely to be used
  • Most respondents view apprenticeships as a good way of bringing new staff into the organisation
  • Using apprenticeships to drive recruitment will help the sector diversify its workforce
  • Apprenticeships are also a useful means to develop existing staff

Building on these findings, CILIP convened a Trailblazer Group of sector employers to develop the Level 3 Library, Information and Archive Services Assistant Apprenticeship Standard, which was formally approved in October 2018.

The Level 3 standard covers a wide range of professional skills, including digital skills and information literacy. It defines the activities of LIAS Level 3 apprentices as:

“LIAS Assistants help users find the information and resources they need in order to resolve their specific query. They work with people from all parts of society and the workforce, providing essential digital and analogue information services – issuing and returning materials, organizing collections, answering research and information queries, improving customers’ literacy skills, – quite often at the forefront of innovation.”

Over the next two years, CILIP will be working with employers across the sector to encourage engagement with and adoption of this standard. We will also be exploring the development of further Apprenticeship standards, working in partnership with the sector.

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