CIPD: UK’s apprenticeship system needs 'radical reform'

16th August 2016

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claims the UK’s apprenticeship system is failing to meet the needs of young people and is being abused by some employers seeking to find ways to cut staffing costs.

That’s according to a new report by a panel of vocational training experts who concluded that “deep-lying problems around apprenticeship provision in the UK”.

According to the study, 60 per cent of apprenticeships created in the UK are only at Level 2, which is equivalent to just five GCSE passes. Additionally, apprenticeships are increasingly being used by employers to “meet the training needs of low-paid and typically older employees”.

Interestingly, the number of over-60s apprenticeships have soared by 753 per cent, dwarfing the 24 per cent increase of under-25s starting an apprenticeship and even the 336 per cent increase of over-25s employed in apprenticeships.

The CIPD report states the above figures undermine the role of apprenticeships “as a structured route into skilled work for those entering the labour market for the first time”.

The CIPD is calling for radical reform of the entire system, along with a rethink on the government’s anticipated Apprenticeship Levy.

Tess Lanning, the report’s editor, said: “When Government ministers talk about creating three million apprenticeships, most people assume that they mean high-quality training routes into skilled jobs for young people entering the labour market for the first time.

“Yet, in reality, an increasing proportion of ‘apprenticeships’ are, in fact, low-level programmes that accredit the existing skills of older employees already competent in their jobs, some of them approaching retirement.

“In too many cases apprenticeships are in low-paid, low-skilled jobs and offer little or no actual training or wage returns.”

The CIPD wants the new apprentices and skills minister, Robert Halfon MP to work closely with employers and apprenticeship training providers in a bid to grow the number of advanced and higher-level apprenticeship schemes for youngsters.

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