Equality for Welsh apprentices on the rise, says report

Apprenticeship opportunities are improving for black and minority ethnic (BME) groups and learners with disabilities in Wales, according to a new report from Estyn – the education and training inspectorate for Wales.

‘Breaking down barriers to apprenticeships’ identified numerous examples of best practice in opening opportunities for these groups in the country and showed a marked improvement on the previous picture.

It also provides examples of joint working between providers, employers and communities to achieve diversity in apprenticeships.

It is the second of two reports commissioned by Education Minister Huw Lewis back in 2013 investigating equality issues relating to the apprenticeship programme in Wales.


A marked improvement

The first report, published in November 2014, identified the barriers that prevent learners from BME communities and those with disabilities from engaging in apprenticeship programmes.

Following the report the Welsh Government carried out a campaign to identify areas of good practice, which were then explored in the second report.

Commenting on the improvements, Deputy Minister Julie James said: “We are hugely proud of our Apprenticeship programme here in Wales which is providing individuals with the opportunity to develop valuable skills and ensuring our future workforce is equipped with the tools to prosper in the economy of the future.

“We are committed though, to ensuring that everyone is able to experience the many benefits that apprenticeships have to offer, regardless of their background which is why we commissioned this report by Estyn.

“We welcome Estyn’s report which is broadly positive and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure the recommendations are addressed.

“We will now press ahead with sharing good practice models on recruitment and continue to demonstrate the positive benefits to employers of having a more inclusive and diverse workforce.”