Only 3.7% of apprentices who completed their programme in 2010-11 were studying under the controversial 'short course' provision that has generated concern under the current SFA/NAS review, it has emerged.
The information on the proportion of learners to have completed their programmes under six months, with the 13 training providers and colleges offering the courses, was released following a request by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP).
"In its ten year existence, AELP has always championed the improvement of service and delivery among providers and therefore we support the comprehensive review being undertaken by the NAS and the Skills Funding Agency," said AELP chief executive Graham Hoyle.
"Nevertheless, it is encouraging that this latest hard data supports what the NAS Chief Executive told the Public Accounts Committee in the Commons on 7 March, namely that in relation to such a major programme where something in the region of 750,000 young people and adults are improving their skills, we are talking about a comparatively small problem. This suggests that some of the media commentary has been overblown and certainly disproportionate. "AELP continues to work closely with the agencies to try and eliminate any potential elements in the apprenticeship frameworks that might lead to poor practice. We believe that any further policy changes should encourage high quality provision but they should also be made in a considered way that reflects the interests of employers and learners."
According to AELP, if it were possible to produce an accurate calculation of ‘problem provision’ that pulled in apprentice starts and those still in training, the percentage would be even smaller than 3.7%.
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