The National Audit Office (NAO) has released their latest report, “Delivering Value through the Apprenticeships Programme”, which has reviewed the current position of apprenticeships in the view of the government meeting its target to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.
It is this target which forms one of the main criticisms of the report; that there is more focus on quantity than quality. The NAO raised the fact that while this figure has been set as a target, there is no emphasis on which sector may need apprentices more than others. The Department for Education (DfE) was criticised for not yet specifying how creating this number of apprenticeships will lead to improved productivity and address the skills gaps, as well as how these factors are to be monitored in the future. The DfE was recently given overall responsibility for apprenticeships, taking this over from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Trailblazer apprenticeships were also reviewed in the report. These have been developed by employers with a new set of standards from April this year, and while they are designed to increase the number of apprenticeship starts, the NAO report shows that only 2,600 people have started an apprenticeship since April.
Despite these concerns raised in the report, the NAO has recognised that the changes implemented in recent times are in the early stages and that the Institute of Apprenticeships, an independent and employer-led institute, will address these criticisms in their remit once it is launched.
This report comes just a few months before the launch of the apprenticeship levy, which will not only see businesses paying over £3million per annum in wages contribute 0.5% of that total into a digital account to use for training of apprenticeships, but will also see the whole structure of funding for apprenticeships change for all employers.
If you have any questions about how the apprenticeship levy will impact your business, or if you’re considering hiring an apprentice, you can contact the Aspire Training Team on 01202 551553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We work with employers across Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset to place childcare apprentices, business administration apprentices, as well as health and social care apprentices.