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Education in the media: Thursday 17 May 2018

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Apprenticeships, Higher Education


Today’s blog looks at the improving quality of apprenticeships.

On Thursday, 17 May, the Department for Education has published monthly statistics showing the number of new apprenticeship starts in 2017-18.

Apprenticeships are structured training programmes that give individuals the opportunity to earn a salary while completing a qualification. Previously they had been of varying quality, with many significantly below the standard expected.

We could not let this continue so we made significant changes, bringing in the apprenticeship levy for the biggest employers (those with pay bills over £3 million), requiring all apprentices to spend 20 per cent of their time training off the job, and set a minimum length of 12 months. We also worked more closely with employers to make sure people finished their apprenticeships job-ready.

Today’s stats show that the number of people taking the old-style apprenticeships has fallen but higher level apprenticeships are growing fast, and have increased over 25 per cent in the first half of 2017-18 compared to last year 2016-17. There has also been an increase in the number of people starting degree level apprenticeships in the first half of 2017-18.

Skills Minister Anne Milton has an opinion piece running in the Times Red Box today that looks at how the government is turning things around and focusing on the quality of apprenticeships over the quantity.


Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

The number of people starting on the old style apprenticeships has fallen, but the number of people starting on our new, higher-quality apprenticeships are increasing well beyond our expectations. We won’t sacrifice that quality to increase quantity.

More high quality apprenticeships are being developed all the time, including in engineering, aerospace and nuclear, and we will continue working with employers to design apprenticeships which give businesses and apprentices the skills they need to thrive.

We are unapologetic about our ambition to make sure that everyone, regardless of their background, can access high quality apprenticeship opportunities. That’s what our changes to apprenticeships in this country are all about.

Founder of the Sutton Trust Sir Peter Lampl said:

High quality apprenticeships offer genuine alternatives to A-levels and degrees so it is good to see progress on the number of starts at higher levels. The Government is right to focus on creating more high-quality routes and it is vital that young people from low and moderate income backgrounds access them. Our polling shows that there is an ingrained negative attitude to apprenticeships amongst teachers, parents and young people which must be urgently addressed.

Read Minister Milton’s piece for the Times Red Box here.

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