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Quantity and quality in Apprenticeship provision

Cassandra MacDonald

In mid-February 2016 it was announced that the Education, Skills and Economy (ESE) Sub-Committee would be investigating a number of issues relating to the government’s well publicised drive to create 3 million new Apprenticeships by 2020. One of the issues on the list is that of quality, with a genuine concern that in the push to achieve the magical 3m, will this be sacrificed at the expense of quantity?

We welcome the news that the ESE Sub-Committee will be scrutinising this aspect of the government’s plans. More and more new Apprenticeship standards are being submitted for approval without as yet, clear guidance on how quality over the delivery of these standards will be upheld. This presents a real risk that young people will embarking on an Apprenticeship without knowing exactly what they are getting, or relying on how their delivery partner has understood the standard.

With new Apprenticeships now being graded, ensuring consistency and quality of approach has never been more important. We don’t want to badge a generation of new Apprentices as ‘failures’ due to a misinterpretation. This becomes even more risky if employers rush to recruit Apprentices just to spend their Levy pots.

Encouragingly there are many employers of all sizes and in all sectors, who have embraced the concept of investing in and developing an Apprentice and offer fantastic, well designed programmes, many incorporating Professional Qualifications. These provide the young people joining them with clear development pathways and the prospect of a rewarding career ahead.

These are the quality Apprenticeships that will persuade students, parents and teachers that entering the world of work can be a credible alternative to the traditional 3 years at university. By shouting about and encouraging employers to invest in more of these types of quality programmes, surely the quantity issue will take care of itself?

To find out more about setting up an Apprenticeship scheme please contact cassandra.macdonald@kaplan.co.uk or 07785 460061.

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