IfA Board gets mixed reaction

The CBI has described the make-up of the new Institute for Apprenticeships board as ‘encouraging’ given its strong business voice. However, there has been criticism of the lack of any representation of training providers. Neil Carberry, CBI Director for People and Skills policy, said:

‘It’s encouraging to see that Government recognises the importance of strong business voices to successfully deliver high-quality skills training. The new board delivers on the promise that the new Institute for Apprenticeships will be employer-led.

“With the new IfA team taking shape and the levy being introduced in April, it’s time to make sure the system really works for learners and business. Government must be ready to adapt the design of the system on advice from the IfA as we transition – addressing both unexpected issues and the longstanding concerns businesses have about the design of the new system.’’


‘Very disappointing’

But Mark Dawe, CEO of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) was less impressed. “As independent training providers deliver over three quarters of apprenticeships in Enlgand, it is extremely disappointing that the independent sector isn’t represented.

“Time and time again throughout this four year process of reform, it is independent providers in partnership with thousands of employer-customers of all sizes who have steered the policymakers back towards workable solutions that support the overarching reform principles. We would urge the government to expand the board’s membership at the earlier opportunity to secure the required expertise from the independent provider sector.”

However the Dept of Education has since pointed out that one new board appointee, Paul Cadman, is CEO of Crosby Management Training.

Meanwhile, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon welcomed the appointment of “Such a diverse board who will bring their varied and high-level experience to the Institute for Apprenticeships to ensure apprenticeships are of the highest quality they can be.

With employer expertise at its heart, the Institute for Apprenticeships will play a crucial role in raising the prestige of apprenticeships and ensuring employers can get the skilled workforce they desperately need.”

The board is made of 8 senior figures from the FE and training world. They are:

  • Katherine Barclay, currently chair of the Life Science and Industrial Sciences Apprenticeships trailblazer
  • Bev Robinson, member of the Lancashire LEP Skills and Employment board, who sat on Lord Sainsburys’ panel on Technical Education
  • Dame Fiona Kendrick, chair and CEO of Nestle UK and Ireland and former commissioner for UK Employment and Skills
  • Robin Millar, chair of Raincoat Chrysalis Group and a serving member of the Industry Steering Group advising on setting up the new National College for Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Sir Gerry Berragan, formerly the Army’s Apprentices Ambassador
  • Paul Cadman, HR Director for Walter Smith Fine Foods and a current Apprentice Ambassador as well as a chair of two Trailblazer groups
  • Dame Asha Khemka, principal and CEO of West Nottinghamshire College Group and a founding trustee of the Inspire and Achieve Foundation
  • Toby Peyton-Jones, board member at Siemens plc and a commissioner for UK Commission for Employment and Skills