Skills chief comes out in support of legal apprenticeship change

The head of an apprenticeship training provider in the South-West has applauded the government for its plans to give apprenticeships the same legal treatment as degrees.

In June, Apprentice Eye reported that apprenticeships are set to receive legal protection under new government plans to stop the term from being abused.

Part of the government’s Enterprise Bill, the measures would give the government power to take action if the term is “misused to promote low-quality courses”.

Mark Boulting, managing director of Skills Group, a Plymouth-based training facility that has helped thousands of apprentices find work for over 20 years, has welcomed the decision.

Commenting on the government’s plan to create 3m more apprenticeships by 2020, Boulting feels that the legal change will help encourage more young people to take up apprenticeships, but has warned the Conservative party to ‘‘ensure that the quality we have worked so hard to deliver is not undermined.’’

Although the government has made improvements to increase the popularity and the respectability of apprenticeship schemes in the UK, Boulting feels that there is still a long way to go, starting with confronting the sensitive topic of private enterprises paying for apprenticeships.

‘‘It may be difficult for private enterprise to see the equity in paying for training when public bodies are taking public funding out of their budgets to pay for something that used to be publicly funded centrally,’’ explained Boulting.

‘‘This just smacks of bureaucracy and the movement of funding between budgets while giving the appearance of making savings.’’