Latest Public Sector News

06.11.12

Apprenticeship schemes must be ambitious – MPs

Apprenticeships are in need of reform, MPs have argued in a new report, with too much money being doled out to companies that don’t necessarily deserve it.

The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee has conducted an 11-month review into apprenticeships in the UK and has made a number of recommendations for future progress.

The report highlights a need for improved standards and better monitoring to provide skills and boost growth. Apprenticeship schemes must be more ambitious, and should be seen as equal to university study, the MPs suggest.

Other recommendations include a clearer policy which defines the purpose and goals of apprenticeships, an assessment of funding, take-up and which age groups are benefitting most.

Additionally, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) should have a statutory responsibility to raise awareness of apprenticeships for students within schools, and produce a robust methodology for valuing employers’ contributions in the future. A simpler and more efficient delivery system for the allocation of funds would also be helpful for future schemes.

The chairman of the BIS Committee, Adrian Bailey MP, said: “The Government has, quite rightly, made apprenticeships a priority and has devoted significant resources to help them thrive.

“But money does not guarantee success. The apprenticeship programme needs clarity, oversight and, in these straightened times, to demonstrate that it is providing value for money. There are many areas that require closer scrutiny, careful monitoring or even complete reform.

“This wide-ranging, evidence-based report carefully lays out the areas where we feel the current model could better serve apprentices, their employers, or, in many cases, both.

Young people in this country should be given every chance to fulfil their potential in school, in work and in life. An apprenticeships programme that is fit for purpose will help them do this.”

The report is at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmbis/83/8302.htm

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