Schools will not publish apprenticeship figures

25 January 2013
By Edward Gent
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The Government has rejected calls for schools to publish information about how many students gain apprenticeships

The Government has rejected calls for schools to publish information about how many students gain apprenticeships

Calls for schools to publish information about how many students gain apprenticeships have been rejected by the Government.

The chairman of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee expressed "deep disappointment" that the recommendation, made as part of the committee’s inquiry into apprenticeships, was turned down

The committee suggested that, alongside the number of university places gained, schools should publish the number of students starting an apprenticeship.

But in its response, the Government said it had no plans to require schools to publish the information.

Committee chairman Labour MP Adrian Bailey said apprenticeships were an attractive path to a successful career and should be reflected in the culture of schools.

He said: "I am therefore deeply disappointed that the Government has declined to require schools to publish apprenticeship entries as well as the number of university places their students achieve, and call on it to reconsider the committee's recommendation.

"The Government has also failed to take up our recommendation that a formal structure be set up to attach apprenticeships to public procurement contracts.

"We understand the need to be flexible. However, we fail to believe that a structure cannot be found that retains flexibility whilst also encouraging apprenticeships. The Government has promised to investigate best practice in local government contracts and we will watch this space closely.

"During our inquiry, we were shocked to hear evidence of the Government wasting money on training schemes that it could not ensure provided value for money. In these straitened times, this is simply unacceptable.

"We are therefore dismayed that the Government has declined to act on our recommendation that firms be required to quantify the value of their in-kind payments."

The Government pointed out that more than one million people have started an apprenticeship since 2010, coupled with steps to improve their quality, adding: "The Government shares the committee's strong focus on quality in apprenticeships."

Commenting on the Government’s response, Tim Thomas, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Engineering Employers Federation, the manufacturers’ organisation said: “The committee called on government to develop an overarching strategy for apprenticeships, and we believe that a new strategy, as advocated by Doug Richard in his Review, will help secure our economic future.

“Too much focus has been on quantity, and the Government is right to draw its attention to quality. Quality can only be achieved however with fundamental changes to the apprenticeship system.

“Apprenticeship funding must be routed through the employer in order to create a training market that is responsive to employers needs and we think using the national insurance system is the solution.

“We also support the future creation of sectoral Industrial Partnerships which dovetail a number of the Richard Review recommendations including introducing standards set by employers and ensuring that employers and employer bodies play an active role in the design and development of vocational qualifications.”

Steve Murphy, general secretary of the building workers' union Ucatt, said: "The Government's plans to boost apprenticeship numbers is to do nothing.

“Apprentices are the lifeblood of the construction industry but numbers were declining even when the industry was booming. Unless construction companies are required to train apprentices they won't."

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