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The Quality of Apprenticeships

Today Ofsted’s chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, challenged delegates at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) West Midlands education and skills conference, on the quality of apprenticeships, particularly on the role of FE providers in the delivery of these qualifications.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Managing Director at City & Guilds and Andy Smyth, Chair of the ISB and Development Manager, Vocational Learning at TUI Group responded to these comment:

“We believe that long term growth in the apprenticeship system can only be achieved if quality is embedded at the core and agree with Ofsted’s comments that this has not always been the case in the past. However, quality apprenticeships in the future will only be achieved through a collective effort between colleges, training providers, inspectors and employers and of course by Government supporting right policy. As our recent report ‘Making Apprenticeships Work’ highlights, it is in all of our interests to ensure that securing an apprenticeship is held in as high esteem as higher education options.

Society has misled young people to assume that a degree is the best route to all careers, when we know it is only one option. Indeed recent research by the CIPD has highlighted that the majority of graduates (59%) leaving university end up with jobs they could have got without a degree and suggests that an apprenticeship would have been a better choice for many. Rather than seeking to undermine apprenticeships, now is the time to reinvigorate the system and make it one of the best and most varied in the world, giving our young people real choice and providing British industry with the workforce it desperately needs.

We agree with Ofsted’s comments that apprenticeships need an independent end assessment that has status, similar to Ofsted, albeit we believe with a different set of skills that are more closely aligned to employer needs.”

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