NIACE welcomes House of Commons Apprenticeships report

6th November 2012

NIACE welcomes the publication of the Apprenticeships report published today by the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.

Commenting on the report, NIACE Principal Advocacy Officer, Alastair Thomson, said:

“The committee has produced a measured and thoughtful critique of current arrangements for apprenticeships and has made some useful recommendations for reform, which are shared by NIACE and many others concerned with making apprenticeships a high-quality learning experience. It is encouraging that the skills minister, Matthew Hancock MP, has responded swiftly and positively in agreeing to consider the improvements suggested.

NIACE is especially pleased that the committee was not tempted to simply recommend the prioritisation of apprenticeships for young people as a response to youth unemployment and that instead it acknowledges the value they have for people of all ages. The recommendation (paragraph 52) that BIS should undertake a thorough assessment to ensure older applicants are not disadvantaged is also good news for adult learners.

We understand why the remit the committee set itself could not focus on the impact of advanced learning loans – which would-be apprentices aged 24 and over will have to take out from next year – but we urge members to monitor this closely. Similarly, the committee may want to look in future at how well apprenticeships align with the employer ownership of skills initiative.”