The training arm of one of the world’s best known youth charities has called for a rethink on apprenticeship reform.
Lady Andree Deane-Barron, managing director of YMCA Training, has written to apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon, urging him to completely scrap employer contributions for 16-18 year old apprentices and level 2 learners. This, the charity believes, could lead to a rise in employment in that age group, as these learners require much more support from providers and employers.
The managing director stressed she was delighted to hear that one of the minister’s main priorities would be to focus on getting more disadvantaged young people into apprenticeships.
However, she said scrapping the disadvantage and area uplift, and changing the apprenticeship framework funding – both measures proposed by the government – would have “a detrimental impact.” She added the government’s ambition to have all apprenticeships starting on standards by 2018 was ambitious, and a more realistic timescale for the switchover was required.
Functional skills should be seen as a positive and viable alternative to GCSEs, according to YMCA Training, as maths and English exams had a detrimental effect on the childcare sector. Functional skills courses, on the other hand, contextualised core English and maths skills and were proven to engage learners who have not achieved GCSE grade C and above, and help the most disadvantaged young people who may have experienced disruptive home lives, homelessness, or mental illness into work, according to the letter from the charity body.
YMCA Training also called for more adequate careers advice and guidance, suggesting “communication needs to be improved across all strands of the apprenticeship reform system”.
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