Could job cuts to the Skills Funding Agency weaken apprenticeships?

The coalition’s drive to boost apprenticeships has come under scrutiny after it has been revealed the Skills Funding Agency, which operates the National Apprenticeship Service, will lose almost half of its staff under government cutbacks.

Originally, 584 staff worked on ‘apprenticeships and delivery services’, but by the end of the restructure only 310 staff will remain, a move that many fear will weaken apprenticeships. The government denies that the job cuts will derail the scheme.

A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union said: “We struggle to see how the laudable aspiration to improve apprenticeships can be managed under these circumstances. It’s hypocritical of the government to continue to talk up apprenticeships while it is pressing ahead with such huge cuts to the expert staff who work to provide support to employers.”