The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Apprenticeships, co-chaired by Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell, has this week launched its 2018/2019 Annual Report in Parliament, highlighting key recommendations to employers and policymakers to improve and increase the uptake of apprenticeships in the workplace.
The report examines contributions put forward to the Group, taking evidence on a range of issues over the year’s programme of work. The APPG has engaged with apprentices, industry and Government to identify challenges and opportunities within the UK’s apprenticeship system. It proposes a series of recommendations which would enhance the apprenticeship offer and increase the number of apprenticeships in the UK.
Key recommendations include:
• There should be a greater focus on the quality of apprenticeships provided and the standards underpinning this. The Institute for Apprenticeships should ensure that the standards being developed are efficient, flexible and robust, matching the needs of different businesses and sectors. This includes End Point Assessments, which should be fit-for-purpose, relevant and not simply represent a tick-box exercise.
• The Department for Education must ensure that schools are strongly incentivised and teachers/Careers Leaders are properly supported to promote apprenticeships and provide guidance through the application process, to encourage genuine parity of esteem with university pathways.
• Part-time apprenticeships should be made more widely available and encouraged in the workplace to ensure greater accessibility. Government, policymakers, providers and industry need to work together to ensure the relevant structures are in place to successfully implement part-time apprenticeships on a large-scale.
• Government should consider innovative solutions to enable unspent Apprenticeship Levy funds to be used, including by approving pilots for different sectors, such as aerospace, health and finance, to pool their unspent levy pot. This could by managed by a representative body to support small businesses in the sector, by allowing employers greater flexibility in transferring their funds.
Catherine McKinnell MP said:
‘Our report makes clear that, whilst apprenticeships offer enormous opportunities in almost every sector and should play a vital role in future-proofing the UK’s workforce, much more needs to be done to open up these opportunities to as many people as possible.
‘This includes addressing issues around the Apprenticeship Levy if employers are to make the best use of this policy, and making it easier for schools to promote apprenticeships to their students. I look forward to continuing to press the Government to take forward the Group’s recommendations.’