Parliament committee reports apprentices are being let down

Apprentices are being let down by their quality of training, says a report published yesterday by Parliament’s education committee which also claims that too many people, particularly the disadvantaged, are not being supported to pursue an apprenticeship.

With the government apprenticeship levy on UK employers introduced last April and the number of approved apprenticeship providers tripling in recent years, the report calls for a cap on the amount of training that new providers can offer as well as clearer oversight and assessment of current apprenticeship training. The report says it is vital for the government to introduce a kitemark system for good apprentice employers to encourage best practice and to help those interested in an apprenticeship work out which is the best employer for them. It calls for stronger sanctions for employers who do not pay the apprentice minimum wage.

Chair of the education committee, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, commented: “There has been an explosion in the number of training providers in recent years but neither employers nor apprentices can have genuine confidence that quality training is being provided by these new entrants. It’s time for a cap on the amount of training which new providers can offer until they prove they are up to scratch.”

The report also looks into promoting social justice and asks for more employers to recruit apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds.

With many law firms launching their apprenticeship schemes in the wake of last year’s levy, it remains to be seen how this report will affect their decisions on hiring apprentices in the future.

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