NIACE Chief Executive calls for quality guarantee on Apprenticeships

23 September 2013

NIACE is calling for Government, employers, learners and providers to work together to create a new Quality Guarantee for Apprentices. Following the publication of the Labour Policy Review: A revolution in apprenticeships, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, wants to see a long-term vision for the Apprenticeship programme which could measure quality and impact based on the investments made by each partner and the returns on those investments which they expect.

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“What is needed is a definition of quality which describes the learning experience. This would include the breadth of exposure the apprentice has to the company they are working for, the support and mentoring they will receive, the relevance of the qualification, the number of hours off-the-job training as well as on-the-job training, the progression opportunities at the end of the Apprenticeship and the chances of getting a permanent job at the end. More than anything I would like to see a Quality Charter or Guarantee that Apprentices will always be supported to learn for their career, not just for the job they are in today.

The Husband Report: A revolution in apprenticeships hints at this and it acknowledges the need for stronger Apprenticeship voice, but it isn’t bold enough. It needs to go  further. The innate tension between what the Apprentice wants and what the employer wants in the short-term must be exposed and then placed into the more united wants both have for the medium to long-term. Good employers want staff who can carry on learning and developing and good employees want to progress and earn more. That is a great virtuous circle of wants which we should focus more on in describing and measuring the Apprenticeship programme.

“Of utmost importance is that Apprenticeships are open to everyone. They should be for anyone, regardless of their age, starting a new job role or occupation. It is stage not age that matters most. Also essential is that we see more employers taking on Apprentices from a black or minority ethnic background, or who have a learning difficulty or disability. An Apprenticeship should be about acquiring the transferable skills that are needed, not simply for a job, but for a lasting and fulfilling career and for recurrent learning.”

Read David Hughes’ thoughts on the Quality Guarantee for Apprentices in FE Week.