Report slams low-skilled, dead end apprenticeships

According to a new report from Dr Martin Allen and Professor Patrick Ainley from the University of Greenwich, the majority of apprenticeships are low-skilled and don’t offer a real chance of employment upon completion.

Allen says this is because many people are taking apprenticeships at GCSE level : “Last year, figures from the Skills Funding Agency showed that 56% of people on the programme were at intermediate level and provisional figures for the first half of the 2013-14 financial year show it to be at 70%. With 80% of the population already qualified at this level, including most school leavers, it’s questionable whether apprenticeships are helping to upskill the workforce and make the economy more competitive.”

The report also criticises the fact that many apprentices are adults, saying that it goes against the government’s claim that the scheme is focused on helping young people find work. In 2012-13 40% of apprentices in England were over 25.

In the report, Allen calls for changes to the apprenticeship system in England: “We need to make sure apprenticeships are of sufficient quality to be a real alternative to university. In order for this to happen, we’ve got to improve the level of training, we’ve got to guarantee employment at the end and we’ve got to look at other countries like Germany and take on some of their approaches. When an employer takes on an apprentice, they should have to show that there is actually a role for them to go into at the end of the scheme.”