Carillion’s collapse exposes our rickety skills structures

The demise of the construction firm and its apprenticeship programme gives further cause to rethink our oversight of private training providers

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Carillion, Learndirect… Once again, the reputation of apprenticeships has been seriously tarnished. How can young people, parents and teachers have confidence in a training system that seems chronically unstable?

Last year, we saw the storm bursting over Learndirect, the UK’s largest commercial training provider, responsible for 75,000 students a year. Ofsted found the company to be inadequate, with 70 per cent of its apprentices failing to reach minimum standards of achievement. It then turned out it was in danger of financial collapse.

Then, this year, we had the spectacular demise of ...

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