The government must provide “stability, transparency, flexibility and employer ownership” for the apprenticeship reforms to succeed, according to the Institute of Student Employers (ISE).
In a new report published today, the ISE sets out the challenges faced by its members, and which are preventing the reforms from meeting the targets set by government. Last month, education secretary Damian Hinds admitted the government will miss its target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020.
Apprenticeships: Improving the system
The report by the ISE stresses there are challenges around funding, bureaucracy, the implementation of reforms and the perception of the apprenticeship scheme, and sets out recommendations to improve the current system.
ISE chief executive Stephen Isherwood said: “Businesses are best placed to understand the skills needed to drive productivity, but while the government claims commitment to putting employers in the driving seat of apprenticeships, this is not evident. We are very concerned about the range of voices that are calling for radical changes to the system or for its destruction and replacement by something new.”
He added: “The real work around apprenticeships happens in businesses across the country. Implementation is not straightforward. It requires employers to invest heavily and manage a lot of complexity. Any change will cost business and it can’t be done overnight. Closer collaboration with government and greater transparency are not just a requirement, they’re a necessity if the system is to have any hope of achieving what it set out to do.”
ISE report recommendations
- Ensure stability in the apprenticeship system
- The levy should not be a payroll tax
- Double the levy "expiry date"
- Increase levy flexibility
- Join-up the apprenticeship systems in different UK nations
- Support higher and degree level apprenticeships
- Review the way apprenticeship standards are created and developed
- Increase the flexibility in off-the-job training
- Celebrate how apprenticeships can transform careers for everyone
- Promote apprenticeships across the education system