Employers could hold off on offering apprenticeships unless the government gives guidance on the off-the-job training portion of the scheme, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has warned.
AELP said recent funding rule changes for off-the-job training in apprenticeships did not go far enough in addressing the differing needs of employers and apprentices across various business sectors.
The government’s guidance on apprenticeships states that an apprenticeship “requires substantial and sustained training, lasting a minimum of 12 months and involving at least 20 per cent off-the-job training”.
According to a survey by the organisation, nearly two-thirds of current off-the-job training takes place either fully or mostly on the employers’ premises, but with some off-site training. Only 13 per cent of off-the-job training fully takes places away from the workplace.
Guidance urgently needed
AELP said that a number of employers new to apprenticeships had raised concerns that losing an employee for one day every week would limit their participation in apprenticeship training. The organisation added that both employers and training providers were designing programmes but they wanted to make sure that they were operating within the spirit intended. Official guidance and the setting out of good practice were, therefore, urgently needed.
AELP chief executive Mark Dawe said: “We submitted our proposals and survey results to the government in February and with the levy now live, it’s vital that the Department for Education responds with guidance and examples of good practice very soon.
“Without it, employers who were considering offering apprenticeships for the first time may hold back from engaging in the programme, denying thousands of young people the apprenticeship opportunities they need.”
He added: “We need a system which drives quality but one that also offers the flexibility for providers to meet the differing needs of employers and apprentices across all sectors.”