Apprenticeship providers react to Ofsted report

With the dust settling over Sir Michael Wilshaw’s damning report on the apprenticeship sector; some of the UK’s largest providers have given their views towards the document.


Blow to the apprenticeship sector

On October 22nd, the government’s education watchdog released its report into how the government is handling apprenticeships.

The report was extremely critical in its analysis of the sector, finding that just five per cent of 16 year olds are undertaking an apprenticeship in the UK. Some young learners don’t even realise that they are undertaking one, while some students are gaining accreditation by making coffee and cleaning floors.

Sir Michael Wilshaw led the investigation and has called for the government, apprenticeship providers and employers to step up to the plate and improve the way they educate young people about apprenticeships.


How has the report been received?

Mark Boulting, managing director of Plymouth-based Skills Group, has welcomed Ofsted’s report and Wilshaw’s recommendations.

‘‘As an independent training provider that specialises in apprenticeships, Skills Group is committed to ensuring that our training is of the highest quality.’’

‘‘The problems here are not the case in most traditional apprenticeships. Government agencies have given out too many contracts and in some cases it’s just a form of number chasing.’’

‘‘One of the really shocking things to come out of the report was that some people didn’t even know they were on an apprenticeship.’’

Boulting added that he had been aware of some of Ofsted’s concerns for some time, including secondary schools failure to promote apprenticeships.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders has given his recommendations for the apprenticeship sector following the report.

‘‘Apprenticeships need to be rigorous programmes of learning planned collaboratively by employers and education professionals with clear and explicit progression routes into employment,’’ said Lightman.

‘‘However, blaming schools for lack of provision of information about apprenticeships will get us nowhere with this important priority.’’