An enquiry into apprenticeships will be launched by the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee in the new year.

Adrian Bailey MP, chairman of the committee, made the announcement at the ‘Real or Rebrand?’ apprenticeships debate, organised by FE Week, at the House of Commons last week.

Although terms of reference for the enquiry are yet to be decided, it is hoped it will be heard in February. An early call for evidence could also be sent out next month.

Mr Bailey, speaking during the debate, said: “My committee will be doing an enquiry into apprenticeships, probably February of next year, and I’m sure there are an enormous number of people in this room today, who would want to submit evidence to that enquiry.

“So please look out for that and submit it, but don’t feel constrained about the committee’s timetable, I’m very happy to receive your submissions at any time on issues surrounding apprenticeships.”

James Davies, clerk of the committee, said: “We haven’t got as far as publishing the terms of reference.

“This is an issue the committee has identified as one they wish to proceed.”

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) said: “The NAS welcomes the Parliamentary interest and is happy to contribute to the enquiry. The NAS will review the recommendations and the Government’s response in due course.”

Mr Bailey also used the debate to raise his own questions about apprenticeships.

He said: “Obviously there is great political support, both business and public support for apprenticeships.

“But the important thing is that they are genuine apprenticeships, contributing to the economic and business objectives which they are designed to realise.

“We have these figures of the substantial increase in apprenticeship, but what is the reality of them? Is it just a rebadging of train to gain, or are they genuinely targeting the issues surrounding young people?”