Apprenticeship Supplement

Apprenticeship Supplement

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The Apprenticeship Experience

Apprenticeships should be more than just a mandatory set of qualifications, brought together into a formal framework which can delivered as quickly as possible for maximum funding efficiency.

It’s also more than just vocational training, delivered either in a classroom environment or by the employer in the workplace.

Apprenticeships are, ignoring all of the fuss surrounding definitions and on-going debate about brand dilution, an experience.

An apprenticeship is about having a mentor who can not only pass on their skills and knowledge in a timely and structured manner, but also build a genuine rapport with the learner and teach them about the world of work.

It’s about the pride which comes with having a real, sustainable job and the relationship of respect which the learner then builds with his or her employer.

It’s not the sort of provision exposed in the recent Panorama programme ‘The Great Apprentice Scandal’, which heard from disillusioned learners, parents and former employees of training providers.

So whilst some learners will be able to pass all the qualifications in less time than the new minimum durations, that should not be funded as an apprenticeship. There is classroom funding for that, and in the case of many over the age of 25, surely the employer should pay for staff training and development.

This special supplement, produced by FE Week in partnership with Tribal, provides a snapshot of the most recent developments in apprenticeship policy.”

Let’s not waste any more millions on existing employees at large companies like Morrisons, given their own Director of HR told the BIS Select Committee they would have delivered the training anyway.

The minimum durations, which apply for all apprenticeships from August this year, should not have been needed, but the reality is that in an increasingly free market the provider contract needed strethening in favour of the apprentice. It will form an important part of ensuring each learner is given a subtantial experience in a trade or profession.

The government should be applauded for introducing reforms to protect the quality of the apprenticeship experience.

Clearly there are important unanswered questions, and unintended consequences of the minimum durations policy will be inevitable.

How will the sector react  to the new minimum durations?

What will change once the BIS Select Committee submit their final report for their inquiry into apprenticeships?

How will the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and Skills Funding Agency (SFA) implement a Quality Action Plan that they are calling a ‘living document’?

This special supplement, produced by FE Week in partnership with Tribal, provides a snapshot of the most recent developments in apprenticeship policy.

Inside you’ll find extensive coverage of the Apprenticeships Quality Conference held last month, including analysis and reaction to the new minimum duration announcement, as well as an exclusive column from Barry Brooks, group strategy director at Tribal.

I’ve also produced a technical feature explaining apprenticeship funding and taken a closer look at the number of apprenticeship starts by age and level.

I hope you enjoy the supplement.

Nick Linford is Managing Editor of  FE Week and Managing Director of Lsect