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Employers to design their own apprenticeships

14 March 2013

Employers will be empowered to design and develop their own apprenticeship standards and qualifications, so they can address skills shortages that are threatening growth.

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The entrepreneur Doug Richard carried out a review last year which called for the quality of Apprenticeships to be improved. He also said Apprenticeships should be more focused on the needs of employers as some businesses find they are not tailored enough to their requirements, with many citing this as the main barrier to taking on an Apprentice.

The government’s response sets out its plan to redefine apprenticeships, raise standards, and overhaul qualifications, assessment and delivery, while placing apprenticeships firmly in the hands of employers. Employers will be able to design the apprenticeships that suit their business, working with training providers to give apprentices the skills they need to do the job.

Commenting on the government’s response to the Richard Review, Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF) policy director, Steve Radley, said his organisation is pleased to see the government responding positively to the Richard Review of Apprenticeships.

"By pressing forward with the Review’s recommendations, the Government has committed to creating a landscape where apprenticeships work better for the learner, the employer and the wider economy and drive up demand, quality and investment," he said.

"What we need to see now is greater urgency from government to act on the key issues, including creating a market in training by routing funding through employers and ensuring employers play a more active role in setting standards. It is also vital that it does not get distracted by demands to give LEPs a greater role.”

Stephen Tetlow MBE, chief executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: "It is welcome that the Government realises the importance of providing meaningful, targeted apprenticeships which meet industry standards and lead to real jobs. It would also be useful for apprenticeships to recognise key competencies recognised by professional bodies like the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

"It is disappointing however that there is no mention of funding apprenticeships through a National Insurance or tax credit system - one of the key recommendations in the Richard Review.

"It is vital that any plans for apprenticeships focus on developing skills that are critical to the economy. Having a vibrant engineering and manufacturing industry is at the very heart of a healthy economy and we urgently need to increase the number of people choosing engineering as a career.

"Over the next 10 years, the UK needs to be recruiting about 87,000 engineers a year just to standstill.  We are currently only producing half this number."

The government has published a consultation document and welcomes views on its recommendations. The consultation response can be submitted via The Future of the Apprenticeships in England: Next Steps - response form, which can be accessed here.

Two new government apprenticeship ambassadors have been also been appointed - an Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business (Gordon Birtwistle MP) and an Apprenticeship Ambassador to Parliament (Andrew Jones MP) - with the aim of increasing the number, quality and impact of apprenticeships in England.

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