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Apprenticeships must be focused on employers’ needs

Government must improve the quality of apprenticeships and make them more focused on the needs of employers, a new review suggests.

Doug Richard, founder of School for Startups, was commissioned to review of apprenticeships, and has recommended that they should be targeted only to those new at a job or in a role that requires sustained training. A clear focus on outcomes should also be embedded, recognised industry standards put in place and apprentices should reach a good level of English and maths during their training.

Funding should create the right incentives for training, the review suggests, and greater diversity and innovation in apprenticeships should be encouraged.

Richard said: “No matter who I speak with, everyone agrees that apprenticeships are a good thing – but only when they are ‘true’ apprenticeships. With the myriad of learning experiences which are currently labelled as apprenticeships, we risk losing sight of the core features of what makes apprenticeships work so my conclusion is that we need to look again at what it means to be an apprentice and what it means to offer an apprenticeship as an employer.

“Apprenticeships need to be high quality training with serious kudos and tangible value both to the apprentice and the employer. We need to make sure that apprenticeships are the success story they deserve to be.”

Education secretary Michael Gove said: “We must raise the bar on apprenticeships if we are to have a programme fit for the future. It is vital that the qualifications and assessment involved in every apprenticeship are rigorous, trusted, and give employers confidence in the ability of their apprentices.”

Katerina Rudiger, skills adviser at CIPD said: “Apprenticeships are playing a growing role in employer efforts to meet their future skills needs. But future skills needs are an urgent priority for employers and the UK economy.

“The faster that these recommendations are implemented, the more quickly even more consistently high-qualit, employer-led apprenticeships can be created. This will also make an important contribution to ensuring that the perception of apprenticeships is enhanced amongst parents, teachers and others who influence education and career choices – which, as Doug Richard notes, is crucial to ensuring that the supply of young people inspired to follow this route to developing work-based skills and entering employment continues to grow.”

The review is at:

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Emma Fletcher   29/11/2012 at 19:58

I agree that apprenticeships are very positive. However, they need to be intensly monitored and have set and structured objectives to prevent exploitation. I have witnessed terrible treatment of apprentices within local government organisations and it is without doubt the apprentices are not learning any skills other than making hot beverages, photocopying and putting items in the bin!

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