High quality Apprenticeships

1 in 3 apprentices get a pay increase

  • All major political parties are committed to increasing the number of Apprenticeships. In the race to achieve greater numbers, three core concerns remain: increasing the number of employers who offer Apprenticeships; boosting the quality of Apprenticeships for individuals and employers; and ensuring access to Apprenticeships is open regardless of background or circumstance.
  • Apprenticeships have increased by 75 per cent since 2010. Whilst a large majority of apprentices are satisfied with their experience; their pay, career and learning progression beyond an Apprenticeship remain low.
  • Two-thirds (64%) of all apprentices were already employed by their employer when they started their Apprenticeship.
  • We must widen participation to increase the number of disabled people and minority ethnic people on Apprenticeships. Current participation is shockingly low – only 9% of apprentices are from Black and Minority Ethnic groups. There should be the same investment in widening participation for Apprenticeships as there is for Higher Education.

100 Day Actions 

  • With immediate effect the Government should introduce a new measure on whether apprentices gain sustained employment (with the same or a different employer) within 12 months of them completing their Apprenticeship. We propose that a proportion of the funding which is currently given to providers for placing apprentices is contingent on high performance against this new measure.
  • Government should introduce an Apprentice Charter across trailblazer sectors. This new quality mark would be awarded to employers that demonstrate a commitment to giving their apprentices a high quality learning experience that sets them up for a career.

The new Apprentice Charter would set a new standard for what the best employers do in addition to the formal training and the employment contract. This includes the informal learning, the soft skills, the mentoring, the support, advice about future careers and opportunities to understand the business and not just the job. It will help the Government to be confident in the quality of the programme and allow them to target support to those employers who want to aspire to achieving the quality mark.

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Continuing our series of blogs discussing the ten policies we would like the next Government to introduce in its first 100 days, Shane Chowen makes a powerful case for an Apprentice Charter.