The Apprenticeship Journey - FSB

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The Apprenticeship Journey


Foreword 2 Executive Summary


Section 1: The English apprenticeship system


Section 2: The apprentice’s journey


Section 3: The employer’s journey


Section 4: Improving the journey for the apprentice


Section 5: Improving the journey for the small business


Conclusions 30 Annex A: Apprenticeships abroad


Annex B: FSB statistics


Notes 42



To improve national economic performance and the career prospects of our young people we need to be ambitious and grow the apprentice programme, embedding it as a core part of the education and skills system in England. Apprenticeships are critical for increasing skill levels, developing sustainable employment and careers, and to help businesses develop and grow. This paper looks at the journey that new apprentices and employers take and the changes needed to make the apprenticeship programme easier to use, more accessible and attractive to the employer. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) wants to see small businesses make full use of this valuable resource to enhance and grow their business and for young people to see this as a viable career option to gain new skills. Apprenticeships bring considerable benefits to businesses and apprentices alike. The Government expects to invest around £1.5 billion1 in apprenticeships for the year 2012-13. The economic case for this investment is clear: apprenticeships produce economic returns estimated at around £18 for every £1 of public funding2. Despite this evidence, too few small businesses take on apprentices and many young people leave school with no clear vision of how or where to start their working career. The most important task is to define once and for all what an apprenticeship is, who it is for, and what it should do. This definition must be embedded in policymakers’ thinking, and not be altered to suit political needs. Businesses need an apprenticeship system that is not subject to constant tinkering. To do this, businesses need to be at the heart of the system. The key is to route government funding for apprenticeships through businesses because this will provide them with buying power across the apprenticeship training market. It is essential that apprenticeships are viewed by employers, school leavers, teachers and parents as a quality route into a career. To do this the quality of apprenticeships on offer must improve. This paper highlights changes needed


“The economic case for this investment is clear: apprenticeships produce economic returns estimated at around £18 for every £1 of public funding”


to achieve this. Getting the education system right will increase the status of apprenticeships. Functional skills such as basic literacy and numeracy should be taught well enough at school so that they don’t need to be part of the apprenticeship. In England we need to move away from simply a drive to increase participation targets and instead develop an apprenticeship programme that delivers quality training that businesses need. If this happens a rise in participation rates will follow. Apprenticeships should be genuinely demand led, not target led. There are many positive things about apprenticeships in England, as there are in the devolved countries, but we must build on our achievements to date. Any changes to the system need to be strategic, taking a long-term view of the skills this country needs to remain competitive in the global economy. Mike Cherry LIWSc FRSA National Policy Chairman Federation of Small Businesses


Executive Summary

This paper examines the current English apprenticeship model following the journey of both business and apprentice. It looks at its strengths and weaknes