From education to employment

David Lammy addresses concerns over Train to Gain and speaks of accreditation for providers.

“There needs to be more public sector apprenticeships if the Government is serious about delivering the Leitch agenda according to Skills Minister David Lammy. Speaking at the ALP conference in Newbury this week he said there were still too few apprenticeships in the public sector and moves were afoot to create more, including in Whitehall.

On the day that the Prime Minister announced extra funding for apprenticeships, David Lammy reiterated the Government’s commitment to increasing the number of apprenticeships to 500,000 by 2020. “We have a commitment to increase the number of apprenticeships across the UK. There is a real determination to make the offer of an apprenticeship to young people up to the age of 25, particularly women and ethnic minorities as apprentices have traditionally been white males.”

The Skills Minister acknowledged the situation in this country where vocational education lacks the same kudos as academic routes. “We”ve never cracked the academic/vocational discussion. To change that mindset apprenticeships have to be a key factor.”

David Lammy also told delegates that another factor in providing an FE-educated workforce would be a revision of the qualifications currently on offer. He said: “UK wide reform of vocational qualifications will ensure we meet learners and providers needs. We want a system with more clarity but fewer qualifications. Part of the solution is to give employers and providers accreditation so they can develop their own qualifications”

Referring to Train to Gain the Skills Minister confirmed that there would be a review of the system because “it is clear there is regional variation across the country with particular challenges in London and the South East.”

He continued: “We want to make sure we are working alongside the Sector Skills Councils to make the system easy, straightforward and not bureaucratic. We want Train to Gain to be holistic, not just a level 2 mantra so we will shortly announce Train to Gain changes to make it easier for you to deliver your job. We want to free up yourselves to be active in the market.”

ALP delegates were also pleased to hear Mr Lammy address the issue of guidance in schools: “Although we ought to recognise the work Connexions has done, we do recognise that general careers advice needs to improve particularly with reference to vocational paths. Young people need to be made aware of the diversity and range of apprenticeships and what progression routes they can take.”

Rosie Spowart

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