Today’s Education in the media blog looks at the quality of apprenticeships and the work underway to create apprenticeships in a wide range of professions.
Today, Friday 13 April, the think-tank Reform has published a report on apprenticeships.
This has been reported widely, including by BBC Breakfast, Radio 4, Financial Times, Times , BBC Online, FE Week and TES. One of the angles the media has picked up on is that Reform has suggested some apprenticeships run by fast food chains and coffee shops may not be of a high standard.
The quality of apprenticeships remains high and our guidance to employers is clear that that all apprenticeships must be real paid jobs, they should last for the minimum of 12 months and involve at least 20% off the job training. If an apprentice has not achieved a pass at GCSE in maths or English they receive additional support from their training provider to re-take those qualifications.
We are continuing to work with employers to design new high quality apprenticeship standards.
We have seen an increase in higher-level apprenticeships in engineering & manufacturing, construction & planning, ICT, retail & commercial enterprise and business administration & law compared to the same period last year. There have also been over 170,000 starts at Level 2 and 3 – equivalent to GCSE and A levels - reported so far in 2017/18. This shows how apprenticeships are helping people to train in skilled occupations at all levels, and progress in their careers.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
“We want to see people of all ages and backgrounds getting the excellent training they need to succeed in a wide range of jobs, and we are changing the apprenticeship system to do just that.
“Our reforms have fundamentally changed what apprenticeships are, as we made it a requirement that all apprenticeships must be real paid jobs lasting for a minimum of 12 months, with at least 20 per cent off the job-training. Quality is at the heart of our reforms, and the apprenticeship levy is an important part of that - creating sustainable investment in skills training.
“We’re pleased to see an increase in people starting our new, higher-quality apprenticeship standards in a whole range of industries from nuclear to fashion, law, banking and defence. These apprenticeships are designed by employers themselves, to give people and businesses the skills they really need.”