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English apprenticeships come under entrepreneurial review


Along with today’s accusations about figures being massaged in Scotland, the government has launched a review of apprenticeships in England to ensure the schemes deliver the training and skills employers need.

The review is being led by  entrepreneur Doug Richard and will seek to define what makes a high-quality apprenticeship after the government concluded that youngsters on such schemes had been let down by weak courses. 
“As an entrepreneur, but also as an educator, I am convinced of the importance of business education in helping not only individuals but society at large,” said Richard. “For our economy to recover and flourish, we need a workforce that possesses the requisite skills of twenty-first century commerce and industry. A strong apprenticeship programme is essential in delivering that.”
Richard’s review will look at a number of key points:
  • What should the core components of an apprenticeship be – to meet the needs of employers (large and small), individuals, and the wider economy?
  • Who should apprenticeships be for – which types of learners and employers can benefit most from apprenticeships?
  • Are there elements of apprenticeships which should be simplified or stripped back?
  • Are the qualifications which are undertaken as part of an apprenticeship sufficiently rigorous, and recognised and valued by employers?
  • How should delivery arrangements adequately ensure all that apprenticeships provide significant new learning and acquisition of new skills, rather than the accreditation of existing ones?
  • Are there opportunities to improve the impact and value for money of public investment in apprenticeships?
“To build a prosperous economy we need a skilled workforce,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable. “The apprenticeship programme has been a real success, not only boosting chances for young people, but also helping businesses to address their skills gaps. However, in the past, vocational youngsters have been let down by weak courses and our competitors have stolen a march.”
Other countries get it right and steal a competitive march, he warned. “”I have just come back from a fact-finding mission to Germany where two-thirds of young people take some form of apprenticeship by the time they are 25,”he said.  “To keep pace it is vital that we build on our initial success and continue to look at how apprenticeships can adapt to meet our future needs in the fast-evolving global economy.”
In the four years leading up to 2011 there has been a four-fold increase in apprenticeship placements with £1 billion spent by the government in 2011 on apprenticeships, seeing the formation of 450,000 new ones.

One Response

  1. Welcomed Review

    Reviewing the apprenticeship scheme and it’s benefits to both parties is a very good idea. As a country we’ve certainly made great strides with apprenticeships – especially in the last year or so. However their is always room for improvement, currently the minimum period an apprenticeship program can last for is 12 months – which can is positive but can often have a negative impact on both parties. Some young people feel that’s too long of a period to be an apprentice, surely employers do not need 12 months to decide if somebody’s the ‘right person’ for the job.


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