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How an Apprenticeship must work in a future economy

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It’s encouraging to see that the Government has warmly welcomed Doug Richards’ findings in his newly published independent report on the future of apprenticships. The forward thinking review calls for improvements to the quality of apprenticeships, making them more focused on the needs of employers and also on job outcomes – what an apprentice will be able to do having completed their training.

Key recommendations have included a redefinition of Apprenticeships, replacing Apprenticeship Frameworks with new employer-led qualifications, expanding pre-Apprenticeship programmes / ‘traineeships’ and directing Government funding at employers. Richards also suggests using Ofsted to approve delivery centres.

The emphasis on quality and standards is certainly something that resonates with us at NCFE. Likewise, I wholeheartedly support the strong focus on the individual learner reaching their potential. Doug Richards states that “no single means of learning will ever suit everyone” and this echoes my own thoughts – there is no ‘one size fits all’ and it’s therefore essential that we embrace the wide variety of skills of all young people and find the right route for each individual.

At NCFE, we offer around 50 full Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships across a number of sectors including Health, Public Services and Care, Retail and Commercial Enterprise , Leisure, Travel and Tourism, Business, Administration and Law and Education and Training.

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What’s more, we also provide supporting qualifications which equip would-be apprenticeships with broad, transferable employability skills such as working in a team and problem solving. The need to enable learners to be “competent and confident beyond the confines of their current job” is something that Richards specifically highlights in his review and it is something that we’re

keen to address. An Apprenticeship should be a learning experience which prepares a learner to face the world of work, no matter what direction that might lead them.

To summarise his review, Doug Richards has said that, “Apprenticeships need to be high quality training with serious kudos and tangible value both to the apprentice and the employer.” It’s my hope that Apprenticeships will continue to gain prestige and the Government will respond by coming up with a cohesive strategy which truly serves the needs of learners, industry and the wider economy.

David Grailey is chief executive of NCFE, the training provider

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