The Department for Education has not set out how it will use the increase in apprenticeship numbers to deliver improvement in productivity, and how it will influence the mix of apprenticeships in order to deliver the most value, according to the National Audit Office. Click here to download the full NAO 'Delivering value through the apprenticeship programme' report.

The Department has also not defined what 'success' will look like in the reformed programme. Research shows that different apprenticeships offer significantly different benefits, but the Department is not clear about how it plans to use this evidence to maximise the value derived from the mix of apprenticeships undertaken. 

In England, an apprenticeship is a full-time paid job, available to those aged 16 or over. It incorporates on-and off-the-job training and leads to a nationally recognised certificate. Annual public funding of apprenticeships has grown over time. In 2010-11, it amounted to just under £1.2 billion, but by 2015-16 the figure had risen to around £1.5 billion. Since 2013, there has been a process to develop new, employer-led, apprenticeship ‘standards’, which will eventually replace the previous frameworks.

Today’s report finds that many of the employers and training providers involved in designing and delivering apprenticeships support the principles behind the new standards, but more work is needed to raise awareness of them. In practice, the process of introducing the new standards has been resource-intensive and has taken longer than the Department envisaged. Employers involved in developing the new standards have expressed concern about the time they have to invest at their own expense. As at April 2016, only around 2,600 people had started an apprenticeship under the new standards.

Furthermore, some employers and industry representative groups are concerned that the approach is leading to a large number of narrow and overlapping standards, which may restrict the extent to which apprentices gain transferable skills.

Employers report high levels of satisfaction with the training offered and benefits experienced, but surveys of apprentices provide a less clear view on quality of delivery. One in five apprentices reported that they had not received any formal training at all, either at an external provider or in the workplace. Ofsted reports suggest that, overall, around a fifth of training providers need to improve the quality of their training and the results they achieve.

The Department is managing individual risks associated with the delivery of components of the current change programme in an appropriate way. It is also developing a more effective approach to managing cross-cutting risks to the programme's success, but further progress is necessary.

While the Department might reasonably expect the vast majority of employers, training providers and assessment bodies to act properly in response to reforms, a small minority may not behave as expected. The NAO finds that the Department has not yet established what information it will need to monitor key behavioural risks and spot signals that these risks may be maturing.

Among the NAO’s recommendations is that the Department should set out the planned overall impact on productivity and growth, along with short-term key performance indicators to measure the programme's success, and should develop more robust ways of managing behavioural risks.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said today:

“The Department for Education needs to chart and follow a course from having a lot of apprenticeships to having the right apprenticeships in order to help improve the UK’s productivity, and achieve value for money, in return for the costs of the programme.”

Key facts

key facts

2.4 million

apprenticeships started between 2010/11 and 2014/15

£1.56 billion

of public funding for apprenticeships in 2014-15

72%

of apprentices achieved their apprenticeship in 2014/15

 

3 million

target for the number of new apprenticeship starts between 2015 and 2020

62%

proportion of apprenticeships that were started at Level 2 (the most basic level, equivalent to GCSEs) between 2010/11 and 2014/15

97

the number of training providers who failed to meet the minimum standard of 55% of apprentices achieving their apprenticeship in 2014/15

32%

average wage ‘premium’ gained by successful Level 3 apprentices in the construction subject area, compared with those who fail their apprenticeship

7%

average wage ‘premium’ gained by successful Level 3 apprentices in the secretarial subject area, compared with those who fail their apprenticeship

   

In July 2016, the Department for Education (DfE) assumed responsibility for apprenticeship policy. Previously, responsibility was shared between DfE and the then Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (which has since become the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy).

he National Audit Office scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Sir Amyas Morse KCB, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 785 people. The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively, and with economy. Our studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services, and our work led to audited savings of £1.21 billion in 2015.

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

National Education Group has a new avatar. yesterday

To what extent are parents aware and responsible
for correcting their children's behaviour in this
cluster...

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.

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