NIACE submission to review of apprenticeships

17 September 2012

NIACE has outlined five key statements in its submission to the Doug Richard Review on the Future of Apprenticeships in England:

  1. An apprenticeship is an education.
  2. Apprenticeships are for adults too.
  3. Fair access to apprenticeships benefits all.
  4. Apprentices deserve the best.
  5. Listening works.

The five statements have been influenced, in part, by the work NIACE has undertaken through in-depth interviews with 10 adult apprentices who were nominated for the Apprentice of the Year category of the 2012 Adult Learners’ Week awards. The interviews took the opportunity to explore the learning journey, the benefits and wider impact of apprenticeships, as well as the apprentices’ views on the future of apprenticeships.

Fiona Aldridge, NIACE’s lead on workplace learning, said:

“Now is a good time to set a vision for the future of apprenticeships. In particular there is a need to be clear about what an apprenticeship is, what it is for and what each of the investors in apprenticeships – the apprentice, the employer and the Government – want and get from their investment.

There is a lot that is right and good about apprenticeships now, so this is not a review which needs to point out the problems and deficiencies. There are many thousands of people who get an enormous amount from being an apprentice. There has been too much focus on the small number of scandals and problems and not enough on the many successes of the programme.

We have heard from apprentices that as well as supporting people to be more productive and effective in their jobs, the overwhelming impact on them has been how much it changed their view of themselves; their self-esteem, their confidence and their sense of being able to contribute at work, to their family and to their community. This is not surprising, because these are common outcomes: good learning gives people a chance to shine, to show their talents, to provide a better understanding of the world they live in and helps them be more resilient to change and shape their own future.

If the Review does nothing else we would like to see it recognise this set of impacts, learn from them and help support employers and the sector to make it happen more widely and more often.”