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Review of Apprenticeships published by BIS committee

November 7, 2012

The Business Innovation & Skills Committee of the House of Commons yesterday published a report on the Apprenticeships programme, highlighting a number of areas for review.

The culmination of nearly a year of enquiries, including visits to Sheffield and Northampton as well as evidence-giving sessions in London, the report makes many recommendations for change and improvement. Chair of the committee Adrian Bailey MP said: “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.”

Amongst the headline comments and recommendations are:

  • The sheer number of organisations involved works against the efficient allocation of funds. We therefore recommend that the Department provides a simpler and more efficient delivery system. (Paragraph 41)
  • We recommend that the Department provides a detailed assessment of the impact that the funding structure has had on the take up of apprenticeships by age group. (Paragraph 52)
  • Apprenticeships are not just for the young. The current funding structure does not reflect this.
  • It is disturbing that the Minister has no idea of the impact his department’s funding decisions may be having on older applicants.
  • Given the widely held view that NAS should have more involvement with learners through schools, we were disappointed by the Chief Executive’s apparent lack of enthusiasm, citing the Education Act 2011 and telling us that NAS was not statutorily responsible. We recommend that NAS is given statutory responsibility for raising awareness of apprenticeships for students within schools. (Paragraph 74)
  • We recommend that alongside the number of university places gained in an academic year, schools should also be required to publish the number of apprenticeship starts. (Paragraph 68)
  • Success will be measured when schools and colleges place vocational and academic progression on an equal standing in terms of the both the level and quality of resources. (Paragraph 69)




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