31 October 2015
The chief of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, says that many apprenticeships are of poor quality, and employers are wasting public money, in a new report.
It lays bare the failings in the government’s drive to create apprenticeships, which according to the report has simply lead to a dilution in quality.
Wilshaw said; “Our report today lays bare what many have long suspected. Despite the increase in numbers, very few apprenticeships are delivering the professional, up-to-date skills in the sectors that need them most. Employers and providers involved in poor-quality, low-level apprenticeships are wasting public funds. They are abusing the trust placed in them by government and apprentices to deliver meaningful, high-quality training.”
“What we’re seeing is that a lot of apprenticeships are simply accrediting what they’re doing already and again employers are using funding from government to subsidise already low wages — that’s got to stop”
Commenting on the report, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There must be an emphasis on quality rather than just quantity. One in three providers visited by Ofsted for this report were failing to deliver high-quality training to their apprentices, and there is a danger that the government’s target of three million apprenticeships could lead to an increase in poor-quality provision.
“Union involvement in apprenticeship programmes is a key safeguard against bad apprenticeships. Unions play an important role ensuring apprenticeships are high quality, decently paid, and that they deliver the skills that both apprentices and employers need for the future.”
Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers said; “The government’s focus on an academic core curriculum, represented by the EBacc and A-level reform, has resulted in a weak policy for vocational and technical alternatives for 14-19-year-olds,” he said.
“It is of huge importance that apprenticeships offered to young people are high quality, properly paid and lead to meaningful qualifications and work prospects. Headline-grabbing announcements for three million new apprenticeships have clearly led to a dilution of quality in the pursuit of an arbitrary and futile bid to achieve target numbers.”