First published on Fri, January 25, 2013.
The Government have today issued a response to a review of the apprenticeships system published by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee in November last year.
The report recommended that funding should be simplified and suggested that alternative delivery mechanisms such as Group Training Associations should be developed with support from the National Apprenticeship Service. It also recommended that NAS should be given statutory responsibility to raise awareness of apprenticeships within schools to improve the reputation of vocational courses. Above all, the report called on Government to define what an apprenticeship is for in order to reach a shared, formal understanding with learners, employers and providers of what a high quality apprenticeship looks like.
The Government has acknowledged the need to focus on ensuring quality as the programme expands, and agrees that SMEs are a priority for investment which will continue to be supported through mechanisms such as Apprenticeship Training Associations and through bodies such as National Skills Academies. However, there is little indication that Government ministers are prepared to make substantial changes to current funding arrangements, and schools will not be required to publish figures indicating how many of their pupils take up apprenticeships.
The Government are also considering the recommendations put forward in the Richard Review of Apprenticeships, to which they will respond in the spring.
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