Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran MP, who sits on the Public Accounts Committee which works closely with the National Audit Office, has said “there are still serious questions” to answer following the publication of the report on the apprenticeships programme today by the NAO.
The NAO concludes that it is not clear how the Department for Education measures the impact of the programme on economic productivity, indicating the issue is not being taken seriously. Despite a drop in apprenticeship starts last year, the Department is in danger of overspending if take-up for high-cost placements increases.
The report highlights that the Department for Education is unlikely to meet its target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020.
Commenting on the report, Layla Moran said:
"Clearly there are still serious questions for the Department to answer about how they make sure the apprenticeships programme delivers the best value for money and - most importantly - how it continues to provide high quality learning and training opportunities to everyone who could benefit from them.
"Apprenticeships have so many advantages to offer, both to the apprentices themselves and to the businesses they train with, and I am extremely proud of the work Liberal Democrats did in Government to dramatically increase the number of people in high quality apprenticeships.
"But the worrying fall in the number of apprenticeship starts in the last year shows the Government's attempts to reform the scheme are putting this progress at risk.
“Many more local businesses would like to offer apprenticeship places, but uncertainty over the new system means they have been let down. I call on the Government to provide the support and certainty local businesses need.”