Government must invest further in apprenticeships, say training providers

Training providers are calling for a review of the current apprenticeship reforms which they say will not support the government’s ambition for the creation of 3 million apprenticeships.

At its annual conference in London, leaders of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) reinforced its proposals to expand the apprenticeship programme which includes simplification of the current contracting system that is currently one of the biggest barriers to the programme’s growth.

The association said that money already in the system could be more effectively spent with providers who can evidence additional demand from employers willing to offer apprenticeship opportunities.

AELP CEO Stewart Segal said: “The SFA survey, following previous similar findings published by CBI and BIS, offers significant evidence that training companies working with employers can provide the drive for growing the apprenticeship programme.  It is clearly a myth that providers are not flexible when it comes to delivery and it is providers who will engage more employers in this very successful programme.   

“Reforms of the skills system should take this evidence into account.  If we can increase the investment in apprenticeships, make longer term commitments to employers and providers in terms of budgets and improve the funding and contracting system by building on what works, then we can grow the programme and maintain the quality of delivery.”

Suggested improvements to the government’s contracting system are included in a full set of proposals which AELP has submitted to ministers on how 3 million apprenticeships can be delivered without risking the quality of the programme.