Today (12 Apr), the City & Guilds Group and the Industry Skills Board have published the second edition of their Making Apprenticeships Work report, which recommends that government, training providers and employers need to work far more closely and collaboratively to help deliver a high quality apprenticeship system that is fit for the world stage. 

In the report, City & Guilds Group and ISB also make several recommendations to support the adoption of a “Quality Framework” for apprenticeships.

Government, training providers and employers need to work far more closely and collaboratively to help deliver a high quality apprenticeship system that is fit for the world stage, according to City & Guilds Group and the Industry Skills Board (ISB).

In the second Making Apprenticeships Work report, launched today, City & Guilds Group and ISB are making several recommendations to support the adoption of a “Quality Framework” for apprenticeships.

They recommend that this universal framework for quality apprenticeships is applied throughout all Ofsted, ESFA and EQAO inspections, to ensure that every apprenticeship is reviewed in a consistent, fair and rigorous way.

The core component of the Quality Framework ensures that greater value is attached to apprenticeships. Within the Framework, a high quality apprenticeship must be deemed intrinsically demanding and worthwhile by both employers and employees. New apprentices must have the support of existing employees in the workplace, who provide feedback within a defined learning programme to ensure that the training being delivered is effective. Apprenticeships should also be subject to reliable, valid and robust independent end point assessment and apprentices should be aware of a clear career progression route beyond their apprenticeship.

The report found that there is still a need for better promotion of apprenticeships in schools and through recruitment channels so that school leavers are aware of the full wealth of opportunities available to them. 

“Apprenticeships should be seen as a career pathway option like any other, sustainable and relevant in the long term,” says Kirstie Donnelly, Group Director at City & Guilds Group.

“Everyone involved in delivering apprenticeships has a responsibility to ensure they provide the best outcomes for learners and that quality runs throughout the system.”

Andy Smyth, City & Guilds Group Industry Skills Board Chair, says:

“It is vital that improvements are made to the apprenticeships system in order to address the UK’s growing skills shortage.  Employers, government and training providers have a responsibility to come together to ensure the high quality delivery of apprenticeships and to support their role in providing a key pathway for career progression and career change.”

This second version of the Making Apprenticeships Work report builds on the recommendations in the first report, which was published in 2014 as the apprenticeship reforms were being introduced and the levy consultation process was taking place. 

Kirstie Donnelly says: “We were disappointed not to have seem more of our recommendations adopted from the publication of our first report.  It seems that we still have some way to go to create a system that is operating at the highest levels.  There are barriers that are stopping employers from benefitting from apprenticeships and these must be urgently tackled through more meaningful engagement in order to strengthen the system. This second Making Apprenticeships Work report contains our recommendations to unlock the power of apprenticeships at a critical time for the UK.”

Making Apprenticeships Work includes the following recommendations:

  1. Adopt and embed a Common Quality Framework to drive inspections and regulation
  2. Review and rationalise focus and purpose of the Standards
  3. Explore greater flexibility in shape and duration of programmes
  4. Ensure high quality in assessment plans and retain expert independent judgements
  5. Review and refocus meaningful measures for impact and success of the programme
  6. Increase promotion of apprenticeship opportunity in schools and recruitment channels
  7. Facilitate advance visibility of and access to apprenticeship offers
  8. Conduct research into employer engagement and decision making in apprenticeships
  9. Perform a holistic review of funding across DfE budgets to focus on employability outcomes

About the City & Guilds Group: A world leader in skills development with 140 years of unrivalled experience. Working in over 100 countries around the world, our purpose is to enable people, organisations and economies to develop their skills for growth.

In our 140th year, we are reinforcing the importance of lifelong learning with a series of dedicated events and activities.

City & Guilds Group’s brands support people into a job, on the job and into the next job by helping individuals, businesses and economies to thrive.

About the Industry Skills Board (ISB): Facilitated by the City & Guilds Group, the Industry Skills Board is a diverse groups of business of different sizes and from a range of sectors.  The ISB aims to give all employers a voice in skills development and works to support the successful implementation of skills policy in the UK to help develop the workforce of the future.  As part of this, the ISB conducts in-depth analysis and debate to define best practice guidance in skills development to a wider group of employers to encourage successful employer adoption of skills policy and reform.

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