Apprenticeships are most effectively delivered by colleges working in partnership with employers, according to a new policy paper.

The 157 Group has published its latest policy paper Expanding apprenticeships – colleges are key to employability during Colleges Week, run by the Association of Colleges and just before WorldSkills London 2011.

The policy paper underlines that apprenticeships are not an alternative to FE but are delivered most effectively by colleges working closely with employers.

A foreword from Rolls Royce illustrates just one of the effective partnerships happening up and down the country to deliver skills training.

Lynne Sedgmore CBE, executive director of the 157 Group, said: “There is no better time to publish this policy paper than during Colleges Week. We need to create more awareness so that employers understand the scale of support colleges give to both individual apprentices and employers.

“Colleges not only provide training and assessment services, they are a consistent and supportive point of contact for learners and employers, from pre-apprenticeship programmes to higher-level apprenticeships.

“At present it is a shame that a young person wishing to progress from a pre-apprenticeship programme through to an intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeship would need to be involved with five quangos plus two government departments but could learn all of this at one college.

“We urge the government to underline that colleges are at the heart of its apprenticeship agenda.”

Rob Bird, apprentice development leader at Rolls-Royce, said: “Rolls-Royce is pleased to be able to contribute a foreword to this important and timely policy paper which conveys the drive and determination of the FE sector to support the government’s apprenticeship agenda.

“We see a growing role for FE colleges in apprenticeship training if we are to improve the UK’s economic competitiveness.”

Frank McLoughlin CBE, chair of the 157 Group and principal of City and Islington College, said: “There has been some negative press recently surrounding 12 week apprenticeships which seem to have exploited those learners, but we need to emphasise the fantastic provision and the opportunities that most apprenticeships lead to, and we must ensure the government and employers understand the distinctive and critical role of FE colleges at every stage of the apprenticeship process.”

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  1. This is an incredibly pertinent and relevant policy paper, and a message to Government that entire FE Sector will certainly hope is well received. It could also have mentioned the critical contribution to the Apprenticeship agenda that the private sector Work-based Learning Providers have made for many years as a key part of the FE Sector.