Too many Apprenticeships not meeting employer, economy and apprentice needs

22 October 2015

Ofsted’s survey report into Apprenticeships confirms NIACE’s well-established argument that there are still too many which do not meet the needs of employers, the economy and apprentices themselves.

David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:

“It’s a real shame that the Ofsted review has resulted in even more damage to the reputation of Apprenticeships. The review confirms what NIACE has been saying for some time – that despite lots of high quality apprenticeships, there are still too many which do not provide the experience and the outcomes we want for employers, the economy and for the apprentices themselves.

“There are abuses in the system and we need new ways to weed them out. For instance, simply and solely accrediting existing employees’ current skills without any new learning or progression is not and should not be called an Apprenticeship. Taking on young people, paying them minimum wage and then releasing them at the ‘end’ of their Apprenticeship, is not in the best interests of the apprentice, nor does it deliver the productivity gain and other benefits for the employer. Unfortunately there is currently nothing to guarantee apprentices a high quality experience and too many are getting a raw deal.

“Our proposals for an Apprentice Charter – an employer and learner designed quality mark for Apprenticeships – squarely address the importance of enhancing the Apprenticeships brand and, more importantly, providing an assurance for apprentices that they will have a good learning and earning experience. Achieving the Government’s 3 million target and improving productivity is in all of our interests, but it can only be achieved through weeding out bad practice and making sure every apprentice gets the education they deserve.

“We have urged the Chancellor to introduce an Apprenticeship Quality and Access Fund for Apprenticeships – funded through a ring fence of just 1% of the Apprenticeship Levy – to develop the Charter and develop, as Ofsted’s report confirms, much-needed pathways for under-represented groups of learners.”