From education to employment

Merging UCAS and NAS sites could help young people on route to employment

Lea Watson Employer Relationships and Apprenticeships Product Manager, AAT

AAT’s Lea Watson responds to today’s Commons Select Committee report:

Apprenticeships have been around in one form or another since the Middle Ages, and yet today’s report highlights how they have been overlooked, when it comes to the support apprenticeship schemes need in order to help deliver a high-quality workforce.

If apprenticeship schemes are to work to their full potential, then small businesses have a vital role to play, given that 99% of the UK’s 5.5 million businesses classify as SMEs.

It is correct that today’s report recognises that the apprenticeship levy needs to be better utilised by companies of all sizes, but smaller companies in particular may need time to structure how apprentices can operate in their business, and the recommendation to double the time employers have to spend levy funds to 48 months could be one step towards achieving this.

We also applaud the report’s suggestion that a ‘UCAS-style portal for technical education, skills, FE and apprenticeships’ could be introduced, but AAT has long since called for an easier step that could yet be taken.

Simply, merging the existing UCAS and National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) systems into one fully-integrated portal would provide young people with all the information they need in the same place.

This would mean all routes to employment would have equal consideration, and allow employers an opportunity to directly reach out to potential future apprentices.

Lea Watson Employer Relationships and Apprenticeships Product Manager, AAT

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