From education to employment

Newham College backs apprenticeship reforms

East London’s Newham College has thrown its backing behind proposed apprenticeship reforms that would see employers being paid directly, saying it would help improve quality.

Principal Denise Brown-Sackey said apprentices spend 80% of their time with employers and only 20% in college, calling the current practice of paying funds to education providers “perverse”.

“We believe that employers should receive funding for apprenticeships and own the training process,” she said.

“This should encourage more firms to offer apprenticeships, increase take-up among students and improve the quality of training provided.”

According to the college, more employer involvement would reassure potential learners that apprenticeships will lead to employment opportunities, and allowing business owners to negotiate with a range of providers that have to prove the quality of their training would improve standards.

However, the college warned the reforms could result in providers under-cutting each other to dominate the market. To avoid this it called on the government to ensure that money is not employers’ only consideration when taking on apprentices.

Brown-Sackey added that, although the reforms would be a complicated process, they would ultimately improve the quality of apprenticeships.

She said: “Changing the way apprenticeships are funded will be complicated and require careful managing. But these reforms will allow employers and colleges to focus on what they do best, and bring huge benefits to apprentices.”

Duncan Drury


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