Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director of Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute

In the years prior to the pandemic, even as the overall number of apprenticeships starts were falling, we saw a steady increase in the number of employers offering apprenticeships at levels 4 and above; the introduction of the levy and the increasing availability of standards at higher levels was key to this growth. More young people and adults too recognised that higher level apprenticeships could help them develop the higher-level skills demanded by the labour market, support their career progression, and provide greater access to work-based training, while limiting its impact on their personal time and finances.

For government, their ambition to grow both the number and quality of apprenticeships was accompanied by a commitment to widening access and to ensuring that programmes at all levels could support social mobility for people from diverse backgrounds. Learning and Work Institute research published earlier this week, shows that while some progress has been made, there is still much more to be done if we are to address the under-representation of apprentices from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, apprentices with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD) and apprentices living in disadvantaged areas of the country – enabling the programme to truly meet its potential to support social mobility.

Our analysis shows that while there was some variation by apprenticeship level and standard, in general in 2018/19:

  • Higher-level apprentices were generally older than their counterparts in higher education. 60% of higher-level apprentices were aged 25 and over, compared with just 22% of first year undergraduates and 52% of first year post-graduates were aged 25 or over.
  • The majority of higher-level apprentices were studying at a higher level than previously achieved. Just 17% of level 4/5 apprentices were already qualified to this level compared with 51% of level 2 apprentices and 27% of level 3 apprentices.
  • Just one in six higher-level apprentices were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (16%), a greater proportion than on lower-level apprenticeship programmes. However, this figure is much lower than the 30% of first year undergraduates and 27% of first year postgraduates from BAME backgrounds.
  • People with a declared learning difficulty or disability (LDD) also remain under-represented in apprenticeships. Eight percent of apprentices on higher level programmes declared an LDD, compared with 14% of first year undergraduates and 30% of the working age population.
  • Where you live matters. In the most affluent areas of the country, 30% of apprentices are on higher level programmes, compared with just 18 per cent in the most deprived areas.

Employers and apprentices suggested a range of measures that could better enable the apprenticeship programme to support social mobility, including:

  • Greater financial support for SMEs to overcome the barriers associated with offering higher-level apprenticeships.
  • Better promotion of higher-level apprenticeships, to highlight the financial and career-related benefits, and to tackle misconceptions about apprenticeships being only available at lower levels.
  • Encouragement and practical support for employers in diversifying the profile of their higher-level apprentices, and their workforce more generally.
  • Ensuring clear progression routes from lower-level apprenticeships are in place, with information and support to help apprentices from diverse backgrounds to progress.

Of course, since this research was undertaken, we have seen a significant fall in the number of apprenticeships – as a result of the pandemic – and we will need to look closely at what impact this has had on the profile of, and outcomes for, apprentices. Our analysis shows that supporting social mobility will require more than simply trying to get back to where we were. Instead, we will need a greater ambition and a more concerted effort by government, employers, and providers to engage and support under-represented groups in accessing apprenticeships.

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Director of Policy and Research, Learning and Work Institute

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 5 hours 12 minutes ago

RT @FENews: Education Secretary speech to FED National Education Summit: @GavinWilliamson addresses the Foundation for Education Developmen…
View Original Tweet

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 May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 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.

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.

Podcasts

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.

Events

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