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The apprenticeships ladder of opportunity: quality not quantity

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The Education Select Commitee’s report The apprenticeships ladder of opportunity: quality not quantity, was issued today (8 Oct):

This is an excellent report and CMI fully supports the Select Committee’s recommendations.

Degree apprenticeships are key to building the brand and prestige of apprenticeships, and play a key role in promoting social mobility and widening participation.

It is difficult to understand why IFA have failed to champion degree apprenticeships but it is now time, as the select committee recommends, that we accelerate their growth.

The change to funding bands, and the way IFA have conducted funding band reviews, has damage confidence in the system and caused huge concern to employers, providers and apprentices.

As the select committee notes, this risks damaging high quality provision, undermining efforts to boost productivity and creating a race to the bottom.

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Indeed, some high quality providers are already thinking of exiting the market. This is why employers are currently appealing the IFA’s planned cuts to funding bands for management apprenticeships – some of our most popular and successful apprenticeships.

At a time when the Chancellor, ONS and Bank of England all acknowledge that improving management performance is key to improving productivity, cuts to management apprenticeships risks undermining the Government’s wider economic agenda.

Management apprenticeships are a real success story: they are popular with employers, providers and apprentices, they widen participation and promote social mobility and they play a critical role in transforming our 2.4m accidental managers into conscious leaders and closing the productivity gap. 

The proposed funding cuts put all this at risk. This is why over 100 employers, around 85 providers and over 300 apprentices have called on the IFA and  Government to reconsider.

Cuts of the nature proposed will inevitably damage the quality and reputation of some of our most popular apprenticeships, stall critical investment in management development and seriously undermine efforts to boost UK productivity.

Rob Wall, Head of Policy at the Chartered Management Institute

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