Dr Fiona Aldridge, Assistant Director for Research & Development, Learning and Work Institute.

A ago week today, Learning and Work Institute launched All change: where next for apprenticeships?, a new essay collection with leading experts setting out ways to improve the quality of apprenticeships and ensure fair access to training.

Contributors were asked to reflect on the first year of the Levy and the impact of major changes to the development and funding of apprenticeships, and to give us their proposals for how to improve the quality of apprenticeships and ensure fair access to training.

The resulting essays were creative, insightful and ambitious – with contributions from a range of organisations including:

  • Reform,
  • IPPR,
  • Boston College,
  • the Federation of Small Businesses,
  • West Midlands Combined Authority,
  • Mencap and
  • Young Women’s Trust.

Importantly, the collection also included the voices of apprentices themselves, who told us about the challenges they’d faced in finding out about apprenticeships, and what a ‘quality apprenticeship’ meant to them.

The best apprenticeships are world class, but more work is needed to ensure that quality is consistent. We’ve also argued that measures are needed to ensure that Levy investment results in increased levels of training, rather than simply a rebadging of existing provision.

Tom Richmond from Reform used his essay to argue that all standards, in use or development, should be judged against an internationally benchmarked definition of an apprenticeship, with those that do not measure up being revised or discarded.

Jo Maher of Boston College, made the case for the development of a ‘quality mark’ for employers and outlined her vision of an apprentice loan system, as a mechanism for larger employers to support SMEs in offering more high quality apprenticeships.

Annie Peate from the Federation of Small Business, picked up this theme with a number of proposals to make 2018 the year of the non-levy payer, with a greater focus on engaging SMEs and allowing levy-payers to transfer more of their funds to smaller firms.

On access, we have seen great examples of efforts to tackle under-representation – among ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and care leavers. But it is critical that we end the participation penalty that some groups face, and ensure that everyone has a fair chance to benefit from an apprenticeship and that employers have the widest talent pool to draw from.

In his essay, Jeremy Crook of the Black Training and Enterprise Group, highlights the importance of effectively engaging employers and of using role models so that potential apprentices see ‘people like me’.

Jane Tregelles from Mencap puts forward a range of proposals to tackle the under-representation of people with health problems and disabilities in apprenticeship, including flexibility in the application of English and Maths requirements and reasonable adjustments in the application of end point assessments.

In their essay, the Young Women’s Trust highlights the potential of part-time and flexible apprenticeships to widen access and also outlines the challenges around low pay for apprentices. Our research – and the views of apprentices in the collection – backs this up; we need simpler minimum wage rules, greater awareness of them, and better understanding of the wider support that apprentices might need.

The levy and other wide-ranging reforms to apprenticeships have only been in place for just over a year, and need to be given time to settle in. Nonetheless it is important to consider the future direction of travel.

Both IPPR’s Joe Dromey and Julie Nugent of the West Midlands Combined Authority suggest that local areas have a key role to play in ensuring strategic delivery of investment to benefit local communities and economies.

We’ve also called for a change in focus from starts to completions and outcomes, and in time a review of the scope of the levy, perhaps for Traineeships, T-level work placements or investment in basic skills.

We are delighted that our essay collection has stimulated debate (Take a look at #apprenticeshipfutures to find out more or join in), and will continue to work with our partners to ensure that apprenticeships help deliver a skills revolution underpinned by opportunity for all.

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Assistant Director for Research & Development, Learning and Work Institute.

Copyright © 2018 FE News

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

AELP Events added a new event yesterday

Designated Safeguarding Lead Training in FE

Overview It is a statutory requirement for professionals meeting ‘robust 2-yearly training’ for those with a lead or designated professional role...

  • Thursday, 14 October 2021 09:30 AM
  • Online

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page