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'Remake' apprenticeships by focusing on teaching, say skills bodies

A new report from a group of skills bodies is calling for apprenticeships in England to be “remade” by increasing the focus on teaching and learning.

City & Guilds, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, the 157 Group and the Centre for Real-World Learning carried out a review of research into the pedagogy of apprenticeships.

Their report Remaking Apprenticeships, which is published today, offers a series of recommendations to increase the quality of apprentices’ learning, which it says is often overlooked. 

“Apprenticeships, like vocational education more generally, have in recent times been positioned as a second-class alternative to academic pathways,” it says.

“But they can be offered as an ambitious, expansive and powerful alternative to academic routes, suitable for a wide range of learners and with a well-articulated pedagogy of its own.”

Apprenticeships need to be “clearly defined and rebranded”, so they again become synonymous with the very highest quality, it says.

The report proposes that learning be put “back at the heart” of vocational qualifications by shifting the focus to the most successful teaching methods and sharing best practice. Future government documents about apprenticeships should explicitly reference pedagogy, it adds.

Kirstie Donnelly, UK managing director of City & Guilds, said: “We firmly believe that now is the time to remake apprenticeships and that, if we take the right approach, we can ensure the UK’s apprenticeship system will compete with the very best on the world stage.”

Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said the report reinforces the message that high quality work-based learning is the most effective way forward. 

“It makes clear that both on-the-job and off-the-job learning should form a core dimension of an apprenticeship because the combination can help produce the desired job expertise, functional literacies and business-like attitudes required in a modern economy,” he added.

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Government has 'downgraded' apprenticeships, Labour claims – February 2015

Apprenticeships and traineeships continue to grow, new figures show – January 2015

Autumn Statement: FE sector welcomes 'cheaper apprentices'  December 2014

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