Too many apprentices are not getting the high-quality training they deserve and too many people, particularly the disadvantaged, are not being given the support they need to pursue an apprenticeship and get on in life, says the Education Committee in a report published today.
The report focuses on the twin challenges of improving apprenticeship quality and promoting social justice. While it recognises the good work being done by many FE colleges and independent training providers, it calls for clearer oversight of apprenticeship training and assessment and a tougher approach to poor quality training. Amid a tripling in the number of approved providers, the report recommends an expanded role for Ofsted inspections and a cap on the amount of training that new providers can offer until they have proved their provision is of sufficient quality.
The Committee calls for redoubled efforts to recruit apprenticeships from disadvantaged backgrounds and help them climb the ‘ladder of opportunity’. The report recommends a range of measures, including the creation of more bursaries, increases to the apprenticeship minimum wage, and increased incentives for small and medium-sized businesses and social enterprises to take on apprentices.
Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said: “Many great FE colleges andindependent training providers aredoing incredible work with apprentices. However, the reality today is that there is not enough high-quality apprenticeship training, which is letting down both the apprentices and employers.Apprenticeships can offer an extraordinary ladder of opportunity for young people to get the skills, training and jobs they need to ensure security and prosperity for their future.
“There has been an explosion in the number of training providers in recent years but neither employers nor apprentices can have genuine confidence that quality training is being provided by these new entrants. It’s time for a cap on the amount of training which new providers can offer until they prove they are up to scratch. It’s time to get tough on sub-contractors, who too often seem to be delivering training which doesn’t deliver for the apprentice or the tax-payer, and lead providers who cream off large management fees while providing nothing of value themselves. Apprentice funding needs reform to ensure the system is working with and not against employers such as in increasing the top funding band to better match the full cost of delivery for some apprenticeships.“