From education to employment

Osborne’s Budget expands Apprenticeship programme

The government announced funding for a further 40,000 Apprenticeships for unemployed young people during today’s Budget.

George Osborne, the chancellor, said the government will support 250,000 Apprenticeships over the next four years to ensure the UK has a skilled workforce that can compete on an international scale.

The government will also double the amount of University Technical Colleges it plans to fund to 24.

Paul Warner, director of employment and skills at the Association of Learning Providers (ALP), welcomed the further expansion in the government’s Apprenticeship programme.

“The government has definitely been on the right track in ensuring that apprentices are in a proper job with a decent wage,” said Mr Warner.

“We need though to find places with employers for this summer’s school leavers who want Apprenticeships or at least get them on the ladder to full Apprenticeships in new access programmes around the country.”

Welcoming the additional Apprenticeships, Jill Lanning, chief executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB), also cautioned over the difficulty of finding enough employers to provide them.

“We hope that the support for work experience will enable providers to find relevant and meaningful placements that are undoubtedly critically important for learners studying for vocational qualifications,” said Ms Lanning.

“While the increase in Apprenticeship numbers is attractive, as Alison Wolf reported recently, finding enough employers prepared to offer high quality Apprenticeships for young people remains a challenge. Hopefully this can be addressed in part by the promised support for business consortia to encourage SMEs to take on apprentices and thus help to boost the numbers overall.

“It is still early days for University Technical Colleges and we look forward to working with them as they develop their curriculum to provide high quality vocational education.”

Susannah Fairbairn

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