The Association of Learning Providers (ALP) has warned apprenticeships risk having their reputation undermined by Government plans to use the same brand for other recession-tackling non work-based schemes.
The warning came yesterday as the UK marked the beginning of Apprenticeships week (23 – 27 February), and as the Government considers a new support package for apprentices facing the possibility of redundancy.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, ALP also called for greater flexibilities in the current economic situation to protect redundant Apprentices.
Among its key proposals, the trade body, which represents training providers delivering the vast majority of apprenticeships throughout the country, argued for a Government training allowance to support employers to retain potentially redundant Apprentices. It also wants to see further development of Group Training Associations "to encourage the employment on behalf of a group of employers of Apprentices, supported where appropriate by Government funded training allowances".
Additionally, the letter sets out the defining key elements of an apprenticeship. These include an adherence to the employer designed Apprenticeship frameworks, and a direct link to an employer – or a group of employers such as Group Training Associations. The ALP also stated the majority of training must continue to be on the job, competence focused and employer located.
There are already signs that ALP’s proposals to help redundant Apprentices complete their framework are already under serious consideration. According to rumours, a policy has been agreed that would allow Apprentices who are made redundant within six months of the end of their framework to complete it "off-the-job" with an appropriate provider.
An ALP spokesperson said: "It’s certainly very encouraging that DIUS have considered carefully the proposals made in the ALP letter to the Prime Minister who has of course championed apprenticeships strongly in both his current position and as chancellor.
"We recognise that there is a major challenge in helping as many young people as possible to complete their programme, when one of its key attractions is that the training takes place in work and yet redundancies are occurring every day. However ALP’s proposals aim to keep apprenticeships employer-located even if not all will involve a contract of employment."