From education to employment

Re – Think of Apprenticeships After Enormous Success – Response from ALP’s Graham Hoyle<

The latest in the long line of Education Secretaries, Alan Johnson, has recently told a House of Commons Education Committee that the successes of the Apprenticeships as they currently stand will lead to a re ““ think of the priorities and tasks of the programme.

The session was brought to the nation’s attention by the contentious comments that Mr. Johnson made concerning the importance of league tables. This debate, with unions firmly defending their members and claiming that the inspection regimes place too much unfair pressure upon them, will continue now that the Education Secretary executed a wonderful political statement; he accepted that the inspections can be traumatic, at the same time as stating that they will only grow more intensive in a bid to drive up standards.

Changing Times for a “Respected Brand”

When speaking to the Committee, however, Alan Johnson did not restrict his comments to the plight or otherwise of FE lecturers. Indeed, he spoke of the future for the Apprenticeship programmes currently running and in preparation, stating that a fundamental review of this “respected brand” was imminent. Given the attendant reference to the review of the skills the economy will require for 2020 currently being conducted by Lord Leitch, it would seem that the Education Secretary and Lord Leitch will be working together in this.

With the skills review of Lord Leitch due out this Autumn, it would appear that the coming months will see a fundamental reappraisal of much of what the FE system provides. Specifically, the increasing number of completions is likely to lead to changes in the programme to best exploit this apparent rising commitment to training and education. With the new 14 ““ 19 Diplomas beginning to make themselves felt in education, the publication of the vocational elements of this are also a high priority.


The Chief Executive of the Association of Learning Providers (ALP), Graham Hoyle, was happy to hear the Minister’s comments. He told FE News: “It is really encouraging to see that the Secretary of State and Lord Leitch are on the same wavelength when it comes to recognising the importance of Apprenticeships to the economy.

“In the light of the increased success rates for the programme, a positive outcome to the proposed wholesale review will inevitably have implications for next years comprehensive spending review unless extra money is found from existing budgets,” he continued, touching on the funding issues that are of such concern to much of the sector.

He continued: “While this might cause the odd headache, we look forward to playing a full part in the review. As someone whos been around the block a few times, I want to say how encouraging also it is to hear a senior minister hark back to the Dearing review of ten years ago. There were major principles established in that report which remain as valid as ever.”

Jethro Marsh

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