Employers are telling a large and successful provider of 16-18 engineering apprentices they will switch to adults once the funding reforms kick in.

Most 16-18 frameworks see a significant rate cut from May, and for the first time employers with 50 or more staff will have to pay for them.

Then there are the new replacement apprenticeship standards, which offers no age specific incentive to the provider.

Plus, according to Jon Graham at JTL, the £1,000 16-18 employer incentive is proving nowhere near enough to persuade them to take a young person over an adult.

As I suggested to Robert Halfon last year, the loss of a ring-fenced 16-18 budget means there is little the government can do to stop the funding
switch to adults.

The minister, who has so far proved to be a good listener to sector concerns, needs to take action quickly.

He should remember too that the Conservative Party stressed in its 2015 manifesto it was committing to the creation of 3 million starts by 2020,
so “young people acquire the skills to succeed”.

We can’t wait for a Technical Education reform magic pill from 2019.

The DfE must step in and take back some control now, else there will be tens of thousands of disappointed young people
in just a few months from now.

To put it bluntly, employer ownership alone simply isn’t compatible with social justice.

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