In response to the launch of the Education Committee’s report on apprenticeship quality, Julian Gravatt, Deputy Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:
“Today’s new report by the Education Committee raises a lot of interesting and valid points, however, more needs to be done. Extending the amount of time levy paying employers have to spend the levy does not fix the problem; it just kicks it into the long grass. If larger employers cannot get their act together to train the workforce of the future, then government should allow smaller employers to step up. They’re ready, willing and able – they just need the opportunity. We agree with the Association of Employment and Learning Providers that the Treasury should guarantee a small company apprenticeship training budget.
“Apprenticeships play an important part in getting someone ready for a career by giving them the skills and knowledge, as well as an understanding of what behaviours are required to ensure they thrive in the workplace. We must ensure that apprenticeships are of the best quality – making them accessible for all, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“The report makes some strong recommendations on social justice and is right that this requires concerted action on travel, low wages and child benefits. We think they should have gone further and recommended increases in the funding available for training. The current funding rates pay five figure sums for higher level apprentices and less for those programmes taken by school leavers.
“Overall, we share the committee’s ambitions to make the system work better for apprentices. The average college trains more than 1,000 and the sector specialises in areas like engineering and construction which make a real difference to the future of young people. AoC will continue to work with Government to ensure that the apprenticeship system works as well as it can so we can deliver the skills the country needs.”