National Audit Office report into apprenticeships to be released in September

The National Audit Office (NAO) is due to publish their latest results on the status of apprenticeships in September, in time for the reopening of Parliament and to coincide with the government’s own consultation into the current reforms, including the apprenticeship levy and funding.

Amongst the findings, the report is expected to review the way the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has managed the apprenticeship programme to meet the government target for 3 million apprentice starts by 2020.  It will also review how the BIS has focussed on delivering more high quality training for the benefit of employers, learners and the economy as a whole, as well as reviewing the roles of Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).

The NAO has published previous reports around apprenticeships, with their most recent report in 2012 focussing on adult apprenticeships, or those aged over 25.  In that report, NAO found that “the apprenticeship programme has been providing a good return for public spending”.  It went on to say however that BIS should focus on getting better value from the investment being made into apprenticeships.  While the report found that the apprenticeship programme had expanded by 140% between the 2006/7 academic years and 2010/11 academic years, with apprentices over 25 accounting for 68% of the increase, a key concern was that in 2010/11, 19% of apprenticeships lasted less than six months, when most should last at least a year.

Further criticisms arising from the 2012 report included the lack of focus from BIS and NAS to promote and support the specific qualifications, frameworks or age groups that lead to the biggest contribution to the overall economy, as well as a lack of knowledge regarding training providers’ profit and loss findings due to an inaccuracy with funding rates.

The results that come from this report in September will certainly be of interest to businesses and training providers alike as well as business organisations who are calling for a delay the apprenticeship levy, due to come into force from April 2017.  Also expected in the Autumn is a report from the Public Accounts Committee, which will review spending and investment on apprenticeships.

To find out more about how you can recruit an apprentice and the benefits they bring to your business, you can contact the Aspire Training Team on 01202 551553 or email  We are an Outstanding Ofsted rating training provider, working with employers across the South in childcare, health & social care, as well as placing business administration apprentices.


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