Opinion: the Government's response to the BIS Committee's recommendations for apprenticeships
Chris Jones gives his views on the Government's response to the BIS Committee's recommendations for apprenticeships
25 January 2013
Chris Jones, CEO and Director General of City & Guilds, gives his views on the Government’s response to the BIS Committee’s recommendations for apprenticeships
“The Government’s response to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee’s recommendations around apprenticeships certainly shows signs of progress. When Doug Richard’s review of apprenticeships was released in December, we were hopeful that the Government would give due attention to its recommendations – and largely this seems to be the case. We hope this will help to ensure apprenticeships are of the highest quality so that apprentices gain the skills they need to succeed in their career.
“However there are still areas for development. Firstly, it seems the Government will not set up a formal structure to embed apprenticeships within the public procurement contract process. I agree that setting strict targets for companies would not be suitable and indeed could isolate SMEs, so the Government is right to consider best practice processes. Nevertheless public procurement could be a viable route to ensuring more high quality apprenticeships that lead to employment are available. We therefore suggest a percentage target – something that would be manageable and realistic to all businesses within a supply chain.
“Another area that needs further development is ensuring apprenticeships are seen as a viable alternative to university degrees – something the Government has frequently voiced its support for. And yet they will not be moving forward with the recommendation that schools publish the number of apprenticeship entries alongside the number of university places secured. Apprenticeships are a valuable route to career success, but this is not recognised as widely as it should be; actions such as publishing apprenticeship entries could be a good first step towards changing perception, so it is disappointing that this recommendation has not been taken on board.
“Going forward, we want to continue to work with Government and employers to develop high quality apprenticeships, and look forward to Government’s response to the Richard Review and how we can support more employers to deliver even better apprenticeships."