Apprentices must have fundamental role in future of Apprenticeships

28 October 2013

Responding to today’s publication of the Government’s Implementation Plan for the future of Apprenticeships, David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“It is good to see, in this Implementation Plan, a recognition of the investment made in an Apprenticeship by the government, employers and Apprentices themselves, and of the substantial benefits that an Apprenticeship can deliver for all three. We think it’s great news that employers are gaining more traction within the Apprenticeships system and will play a fundamental role in setting the standards for Apprenticeships. This is a big step forward, but we believe that one more step is needed to ensure that Apprentices too have the opportunity to play a fundamental role in this partnership.

“The eight Trailblazers are a great opportunity to develop the Apprenticeship standards and high-level assessment approach for occupations within their sector. We will be looking to the Trailblazers to ensure that the learner voice is an integral part of these developments. NIACE is keen to work to support them on this so that the Apprentice voice is embedded within the future development of Apprenticeships. NIACE has previously called for government, employers, learners and providers to work together to create a new Quality Guarantee for Apprenticeships. The establishment of the eight Trailblazers provides an ideal opportunity to take this forward and NIACE is keen to support them to do that.

“The practicalities of the future of Apprenticeships will depend upon the Government’s approach to funding which will be announced later in the year. What NIACE wants is a long-term vision for the Apprenticeship programme which measures quality and impact based on the investments made by each partner – Apprentice, employer and Government – and the expected returns on those investments.

“We are pleased that this Implementation Plan supports our belief that Apprenticeships must be open to everyone, regardless of their age, who is starting a new job role or occupation. It is stage not age that matters most. Also vital 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.”