'Stop with the to-ing and fro-ing'
City & Guilds responds to call for more apprenticeships in the Queen's Speech
04 June 2014
The Government needs to focus on stability in the apprenticeship system if it is going to continue to raise the profile of apprenticeships, City & Guilds warned today.
Following on from the Queen’s Speech, which promised to achieve two million apprenticeships by 2015, City & Guilds has cautioned that the frequent changes to the system risk damaging its credibility.
City & Guilds is concerned that the recent changes to funding risks putting employers off from taking on apprentices, particularly SMEs, due to the additional complexities and bureaucracy the new system will involve. Instead, City & Guilds favours a more flexible system, which could meet the needs of all employers, regardless of size.
Commenting on the speech, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group said: ‘If we really want apprenticeships to be seen as a credible and valuable route to a career, we desperately need to see stability in the system. Too much to-ing and fro-ing on the policy around apprenticeships only serves to confuse people.
‘We know businesses can benefit from taking on apprentices, particularly with ever-increasing skills gaps but things keep changing around apprenticeship policy. For employers and young people alike this only causes confusion. We should be making the system easier to navigate, not harder. We need a strong, stable, consistent system that meets the needs of young people, employers, and our economy.’
City & Guilds also believes that to ‘continue to deliver the best schools and skills for young people,’ and to succeed in reaching the target of two million apprenticeships, ineffective careers advice needs to be dealt with. Recent research from the City & Guilds Group found that only 25% were informed about apprenticeships, compared to 44% of degrees.
Qualified apprentice, Tiana Locker, 22, who oversees City & Guilds’ Apprentice Connect programme said: ‘All young people deserve the opportunity to understand and explore all of the available career paths and choose the one that’s right for them – not just the one that teachers or parents know about and understand. To me, it’s about giving young people the opportunity to speak with employers to understand their requirements. Only then can they make informed decisions about their careers.
‘One of the main things I’ve noticed through my work with Apprentice Connect is how little young people know about alternatives to university, and the skills needed to enter the workplace. And it’s not because they don’t want to know about them, but more because they simply haven’t been told, or they don’t know where to look. It’s a major issue and we need to address it now.’