Widespread concerns over whether the Institute for Apprenticeships will be ready to police the brave new world of apprenticeships post-April seem increasingly justified.

Peter Lauener is a highly experienced and respected leader, who probably understands the intricacies of the new system better than anyone.

It would be hard to argue against his role as shadow chief executive of the IfA being made permanent, if he didn’t have both the nation’s skills funding agencies to run at the same time.

There’s a danger that launching without a long-term boss, or even a deputy, will provide encouragement to people looking for opportunities to take advantage of a system in transition.

It’s creating an impression, fair or not, that things are being left to drift – and the government’s reluctance to even say whether any board members have been appointed doesn’t help.

This needs to be addressed fast. The new apprenticeships system needs to get off to a good start, with a powerful and respected IfA helping to build prestige from there.

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