This week the number of providers and employers able to directly tap into an annual £2.5 billion apprenticeship pot exceeded 2,000.

Everyone and anyone is being given a piece of the funding action, from Cambridge University, to Greggs, to one-man-band sole traders.

Regulating the quality of training in this proliferation of actors will be mission impossible for Ofsted.

But however hard monitoring and reporting on the apprenticeship delivery taking place across England is going to be, there needs to be a solid plan with substantial and additional resource.

Against a backdrop of public funding cuts, it is still vital that the Department for Education invests substantially in the inspectorate.

Failure to do so will be to fail to protect the apprenticeship brand along with any of the apprentices participating.

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