National Audit Office set to examine government management of apprenticeships

The National Audit Office (NAO) has confirmed that it will launch an investigation into how the department for business, innovation and skills (BIS) has been handling its drive to create three million apprenticeships by 2020.


Under investigation

Last week the NAO said that it would publish a report in spring 2016 that would examine how the department is ensuring high quality apprenticeships for young learners.

Since Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to increase its apprenticeship creation from two million to three million during the summer budget, the Tories have come under fire from leading apprenticeship figures.

In July, Apprentice Eye reported that Professor Lady Alison Wolf, David Cameron’s skills advisor launched a new report into how the government is handling new apprenticeships, claiming that the PM’s ‘‘talk of improving apprenticeship quality while also having 3m new apprenticeships by 2020 is self-deception, at best. Under current budgets, it simply cannot be done.’’


‘‘Examine the management of the apprenticeship programme’’

According to a NAO spokesperson, apprenticeships are vital for ensuring UK growth and productivity, but the study would ‘‘examine the management of the apprenticeship programme by Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.’’

‘‘In particular, it will assess whether the Department is facilitating the delivery of high quality skills training that meets the needs of businesses, employees and the wider economy,’’ continued the NAO.

This is not the first time that the audit office has investigated BIS. In 2012 the NAO looked at whether the government department was ‘‘obtaining value for money.’’ The report found that ‘‘adult apprenticeships offer good value for money, but the government needs to focus its resources on industries which offer the best economic returns.’’