MPs launch inquiry into the future of apprenticeships

Concerns such as government targets and the proposed apprenticeships levy will be discussed by a parliamentary sub-committee

Will Martin

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A parliamentary inquiry into the expansion and quality of apprenticeship provision has been launched.

The probe will be led by the Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy. Among its many areas of concern, the committee will review the government’s target of creating 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, proposals for an apprenticeships levy, the process of applying for apprenticeships and plans to create an Institute for Apprenticeships.

The inquiry will also examine the low take-up of 16-19 apprenticeships, and the "quality of, and minimum standards for, apprenticeships, and how standards can be enforced".

Neil Carmichael MP, chair of the Education Select Committee, said: “In this inquiry we will examine a variety of issues relating to apprenticeships, not least how do we boost the take-up of apprenticeships among 16- to 19-year-olds and what is being done to ensure young people are aware of the opportunities available. Good quality apprenticeships offer a route to boosting our international competitiveness and there are sure to be lessons to learn from other countries’ approaches to apprenticeships and technical qualifications."

Iain Wright MP, chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, said: “Improving the quality of apprenticeships and driving up the numbers of young people earning technical qualifications has an important role to play in closing the skills gap and improving the nation’s productivity. The government has an ambitious target of hitting 3 million apprenticeship starts and, as a committee, we want to examine how they are going to hit that target. There’s been a lot of uncertainty about how the apprenticeship system is going to work and we will want to press the government on how they are going to ensure businesses, colleges, and students have confidence in the system in the future.”

In January, the government said that it was still on track to hit its target of creating 3 million apprenticeships during the current Parliament.

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Will Martin

Will is a junior reporter at TES

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