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“Dangerously blunt instrument” being used to cut adult Apprenticeships, warns Edge

The government is using a “dangerously blunt instrument” to cut adult Apprenticeships by expecting employers to make up the difference when subsidies are reduced, according to a leading independent education charity.

The Edge Foundation has criticised plans to change the way adult Apprenticeships are paid in England. It pointed to the government’s own research that suggests apprentice numbers could fall by 73% if employers have to pay at least half the cost.

David Harbourne, Edge’s director of policy and research, said: “The Apprenticeship system has a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. There is a case for reform, particularly to ensure that public subsidies are spent well and wisely.

However, the government has chosen a dangerously blunt instrument. Their proposals will lead to a large reduction in apprenticeship numbers. They will also have a big impact on specialist training services.”

According to Edge, subsidies should be used to support the most valuable Apprenticeships, which could be measured by wage returns, social benefits and economic impact.

“We particularly need to target sectors facing significant skills shortages,” said Mr Harbourne.

Natalie Thornhill


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