From education to employment

Quality and collaboration vital to a new wave of Apprenticeships


Speakers at the AELP conference yesterday focused on the vital importance of quality and collaboration within the burgeoning Apprenticeship sector.

Members of the industry came together at the event in London to discuss how the sector could deal with varying influential factors, including a difficult economic outlook.

The chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), Martin Doel, told FE News that “with the economy still in difficulty … there has never been a more important time for skills growth”.

He went on to emphasise the importance of collaboration alongside competition within the sector to offer the best range of choices and opportunities for learners.

Sara Benioff, director of quality at the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), reinforced the message, pointing out that ‘”the new era of Apprenticeships is really all about quality”.

Benioff isolated new key targets within the sector, which included an increase in guided learning hours and an improved range of employment opportunities for those interested in gaining new skills.

She acknowledged that, while the number of available Apprenticeships had expanded, there had also been an increase in the programmes’ success, suggesting a positive outlook for the sector.

However, she emphasised that while availability increased, it was now important that quality became ‘entwined’ in the expansion.

Doel similarly pointed out that quality needed to remain a cornerstone of new Apprenticeships. He acknowledged that Apprenticeships, as a brand, are gaining an ever more prominent position in the public eye. He placed an emphasis on quality and collaboration, saying, “what we need to do now, as a group of providers, is protect that brand as we grow it”.

Louise Macfadyen

Related Articles