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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Prior work placements boost apprenticeship success rates


Although about a quarter of young people who start apprenticeships currently drop out, they are much less likely to do so if they have had previous work experience, a report has found.

According to a study of 15 of the UK’s best apprenticeship schemes conducted by schools inspection body, Ofsted, to pinpoint best practice, vocational taster courses generally meant that over 16-year olds “were more successful in making good progress with their apprenticeship framework than those starting straight from school without such experience”.
Moreover, the employers cited in the research, which included McDonalds, Sassoons hair salons and the Premier League, said that they tended to value work experience highly as they found it a good way of “evaluating young people’s work ethic” as well as their basic employment skills.
Other critical factors for apprenticeship success included regular contact between employers and the staff providing such programmes in order to review each individuals’ progress, provide them with constructive feedback and set new targets.
The upshot of this activity was that apprentices understood where there were at and what they had to do to continue making progress.
On the downside, however, employers complained that the number of students they could accommodate on the work placements that they valued so highly was limited because local schools tended to ask for them during the same short period at the end of the academic year.
In addition, while many organisations were keen to encourage people who had successfully completed advanced apprenticeships to undertake more training in order to get on, the move into work-based learning was restricted in some instances.
The problem was that not all apprentices had a recognised qualification that would enable them to study at level 4 (professional diploma).
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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