NIACE welcomes government’s Richard Review response

14 March 2013

NIACE welcomes the publication of the government’s response to the Richard Review – The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Next Steps from the Richard Review – and in particular its recognition that individuals of all ages can benefit from the opportunity that an Apprenticeship offers to both earn and learn.

NIACE’s recent research on the experiences of adult Apprentices demonstrates the powerful benefits that are enjoyed by both the individual and their employer from an Apprenticeship.

David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:

“We are particularly pleased that the report agrees with our submission that Apprenticeships should be targeted at people starting a new job role or occupation irrespective of their age. We said that it should be stage not age which matters; acknowledging this gives enormous hope to adults of all ages who want to improve their skills and be more effective at work. We are also pleased that the report supports our ambition that an Apprenticeship is an education which provides a springboard for a career. NIACE strongly believes that a well-designed and delivered Apprenticeship can support people to be resilient and provide the skills needed for on-going learning and adaptation to the changing world of work. To date, there has been too much focus for too many Apprentices on a narrow conception of an Apprenticeship.

“An Apprenticeship should be a journey from being a novice in a role to being an expert. We support the view of expansive opportunities with more of a focus on developing Apprentices not only for their current job, but a career, other careers and for life. Ultimately Apprenticeships should instil a sense of curiosity, lifelong learning, discovery and improvement which stay with you throughout your life.

“While this consultation focuses on the role of government, employers and providers, we feel that there should be more emphasis in the proposals on the role the Apprentices themselves can play in determining the curriculum, the scope, the delivery, the assessment and the improvements in quality. Despite being investors in their own education there is not enough of a role for them in how it happens. The report seems to view the Apprentices as passive beneficiaries with no contribution to make to the success of the learning experience and process. Our experience with successful Apprentices is that their contribution and engagement with the design and delivery of their learning can make a world of difference.

“In order to help address this, NIACE intends to engage a wide range of Apprentices as part of this consultation and to use their experiences and expertise to shape our own response.”

NIACE will publish its early response and associated research with Apprentices in April, to support other organisations in shaping their own responses.