From the notes I have put together from the Ofsted report and the initial report on PLAs there appears to be much work to be done to increase the amount of people participating in this. There are a number of reasons behind this decrease from 34,000 in July 2005 to 6,268 in October 2007 of those taking part from further education institutes and, those that choose PLAs as a route to employment
- • Full time vocational courses enrolling more students than those courses which embody PLAs and progression to employed apprenticeships
- • Lack of available information on PLAs – what they are and its benefits
- • Learners of PLAs on work experience not having access to funding through the introduction of means tested EMA in 2006 and other financial help towards travel and other expenses
- • Long placements with no prospect of future employment leading to a lack of motivation and often learners dropping out of the course before completion
Alongside these factors two of the ten surveyed Sector Skills Councils are only now considering the implications of PLAs against apprenticeships.
Those publications and information available on PLAs is said to “vary greatly” which hints to misunderstanding towards its primary causes.
Overall, the impact of PLAs is generally said to be positive. Employers were positive about this learning scheme and believe that it enables apprentices to settle into their employment roles quickly. The government strategy for the future of apprenticeships includes trying to increase the amount of employers that participate in PLAs. Learners on PLAs are said to be more positive than those on work placements.
If the government puts their strategy to work and ensures more data collection is in place, increases participation by employers and ensures PLAs more to employer led apprenticeships, PLAs would appear to be more of strategic move to brighten a young persons’ future. The help of EMA to those that are on work placements for the same amount of time they would spend in further education institutes would help increase participation.