Apprenticeship inquiry calls for evidence

Apprenticeship inquiry calls for evidence

The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee is calling for evidence ahead of an inquiry into apprenticeships.

Written evidence can be submitted to the Committee up until February 03, 2012, using the email address biscommem@parliament.uk.

The terms of reference, used to shape the inquiry in the new year, are listed below:


* How successful has the National Apprenticeship Service been since it was created in April 2009? Has it helped bridge the gap between the two funding Departments? (BIS and Department for Education)

* Is the extra funding promised by the Coalition Government necessary for apprenticeships? How can this funding best be spent?

* Are apprenticeships of a high enough quality to benefit apprentices and their employers? Should there be more Level 3 apprenticeships?

* Apprenticeship bonuses – how should they function? Will they encourage the involvement of more small and medium sized businesses to take on apprentices? If not what will?

* Is the current funding arrangement for training of apprentices of 100% for 16-18 year olds and 50% for 19-24 year olds appropriate?

The preliminary terms of reference were heard by the Committee on Tuesday morning.

Adrian Bailey MP, chairman of the committee, said the inquiry will start in February and address a number of issues surrounding apprenticeships, including quality, control, and employer contributions.

It comes following an announcement by skills minister John Hayes earlier this week that apprenticeships for 16 to 18-year-olds must be completed over at least 12 months, as well as strict new measures on quality.

When asked about who should be responsible for monitoring quality, Mr Bailey said: “I think we might incorporate that into Select Committee consideration.”

Mr Bailey announced the enquiry at the ‘Real or Rebrand?’ apprenticeships debate organised by FE Week at the House of Commons in November.

Speaking at the event, Mr Bailey said: “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.”

Mr Bailey also attended the debate on apprenticeships held at the House of Commons last  Monday, where Mr Hayes announced the minimum duration for all apprentices aged under-19.

Mr Bailey said: “The government is providing a considerable sum of money ostensibly for apprenticeships.

“A substantial proportion of that money is not providing apprenticeships as we understand them, but going to general training, which may itself be very good, but a lot of it might actually be done by a company as a whole.

“The government needs to review that, assess the financial implications of it and look to distribute some of that money in a way which I think is more effective.”

Mr Bailey said the problems surrounding apprenticeships were “highly dangerous” for the coalition government, and could potentially “blow up in their face.”

“What we need is real apprenticeships, and an adequate level of funding to ensure that they are meaningful and effective,” Mr Bailey said.

“The government should concentrate less on numbers and more on appropriateness of the course and validity.”