Training providers need to earn the trust of parents and schools if the apprenticeship levy is to be a success, according to a senior Conservative peer.
Lord Lucas, who is editor of The Good Schools Guide, told delegates at the Westminster Employment Forum's "Improving Apprenticeships in England: quality, assessment and options for policy" seminar today that he thought training providers were “central” to helping schools and parents to understand and trust in apprenticeships, while most businesses were "awful" at getting the message across.
"In this period before we get a settled system, trust depends on you as the education providers," Lord Lucas said. "It centres on you: the relationship will be with you as to whether what has been offered is going to come up to scratch. Generally, it’s the education providers who have a wider reputation."
He added: "You’ve got to take that seriously if you want a good flow of apprenticeships. You’ve got to be there as the people that parents and schools can trust the child to, because otherwise they will just default to university or to FE college as the places they won’t be blamed for sending their child to. If you want them to go to apprenticeships, you have got to earn their trust."
The Conservative peer said that more needed to be done by training providers to help employers get the message of apprenticeships through to parents, schools and pupils, with three-quarters of businesses being "awful" at outreach.
“I have one big message for you: there’s about 25 per cent of employers who do a good job, somewhere between excellent and acceptable. The other 75 per cent are awful. They don’t seem to have any concept of what schools are like, and how school kids and schools absorb information," Lord Lucas said.
He added: “You get apprenticeship information put up for two weeks on the website, and then it disappears. How is a school supposed to interact with that? It is absolutely braindead and I hit my head on the desk at frequent intervals trying to get this through to people running apprenticeships and companies. So you, as trainers – help employers understand what is needed, what schools need, how schools work. There is no understanding of that out there. You have got to get together and help."