Inquiry under way to scrutinise apprenticeship plans

The Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy has launched an inquiry into apprenticeships, looking at how the government’s plans to boost apprenticeships will work.

The inquiry will consider how ministers plan to achieve its vision of three million apprentices by 2020 and how the proposals will help fill the UK’s skills gap.

It will explore the planned Institute of Apprenticeships and how higher-level apprenticeships can be achieved. The implications of the controversial apprenticeship levy will also be a focus.


Policy change to recognise apprenticeships

Neil Carmichael MP, chair of the Education Select Committee, said: “Our education policy needs to change truly to recognise the value of technical and professional education to young people, to society and to the nation’s economy.

“Young people need to be equipped with the skills to succeed and apprenticeships have a vital role in achieving this objective.

“In this inquiry we will examine a variety of issues relating to apprenticeships, not least how we boost the take-up of apprenticeships amongst 16–19 year olds and what is being done to ensure young people are aware of the opportunities available.

“Good quality apprenticeships offer a route to boosting our international competitiveness and there are sure to be lessons to learn from other countries’ approaches to apprenticeships and technical qualifications.”


Targets under scrutiny

Iain Wright MP, chair of the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee, added: “Improving the quality of apprenticeships and driving up the numbers of young people earning technical qualifications has an important role to play in closing the skills gap and improving the nation’s productivity.

“The government has an ambitious target of hitting three million apprenticeship starts and as a Committee we want to examine how they are going to hit that target.”

The Sub-Committee is calling for submissions addressing some or all of the following points:

  • The target of three million apprentices by 2020, how the government proposes to achieve this and how this may affect the ‘skills gap’
  • The proposal for an apprenticeships levy and how this may be implemented
  • The institutional architecture of current provision and how this may be affected by the proposed Institute for Apprenticeships
  • Take-up of apprenticeships amongst 16–19 year olds and steps that can be taken to make more young people aware of available opportunities
  • The process of applying for apprenticeships
  • Routes for progression to higher qualifications for current apprentices
  • The quality of, and minimum standards for, apprenticeships, and how standards can be enforced
  • Lessons from other countries’ approaches to apprenticeships.

Written submissions can be made by midday on Friday 18 March here.