What good are three million more apprenticeships, if the quality of training suffers?

Oct 2, 2014 by

George Osborne used the start of the Conservative conference to announce the creation of three million apprenticeships during the next parliament. The pledge comes days after the Labour leader included a “massively expanded” apprenticeship programme as part of his six-point plan for a new government. Ed Miliband said he wanted to see as many young people doing an apprenticeship by 2025 as those going to university – a variation on David Cameron’s previous statement that all young people should have a choice between the two.

Westminster’s commitment to growing the apprenticeship programme is great, but it would be a mistake for politicians to promote apprenticeships and university as the only two options for young people, especially when there are other routes such as the traineeship scheme.

And both parties need to be careful about chasing targets and inflicting legislative mandates on employers to help meet them. Labour has proposed that winning government contracts should be tied to offering apprenticeships. While this is a nice idea in the sense that it encourages a more positive approach in companies to training staff, it’s not something that should be used as a quota.

As we have seen in the past, such measures have put the quality of provision in jeopardy. A couple of years ago, government rhetoric was focused on the speed with which the scheme was expanding, but investigations into the quality of training at some companies changed this and resulted in the government deciding it was necessary to require all apprenticeships to last the minimum of a year. Recently, providers have been achieving consistently high Ofsted grades. The scheme is going from strength to strength and I would hate to see the government derail this. Driving growth from legislation simply causes too great a risk of apprenticeships being created for the wrong reasons.

via What good are three million more apprenticeships, if the quality of training suffers? | Education | Guardian Professional.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.