Apprenticeship in England, United Kingdom

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One of a series of studies on vocational education and training, this review focuses on the apprenticeship system in England and concludes with policy recommendations.

England has launched a series of reforms that champion the institution of apprenticeship, and address some previous weaknesses. The reforms encourage more substantive apprenticeship programmes and a stronger funding framework. Despite these strengths, there is still some way to go to establish an apprenticeship system in England to match those of the strongest countries.

This report suggests several ways in which reforms might be adapted to achieve higher quality and better outcomes. An effective apprenticeship system involves various elements such as the development of the apprentice in the workplace by the employer and the broader education of young apprentices. The report argues that England should consider introducing regulations and standards to ensure that these elements are part of all apprenticeship programmes, and that the recently introduced apprenticeship levy supports high-quality training. In comparison to other countries, England has relatively few young apprentices. The report suggests England could facilitate transition from school to work by making better use of apprenticeships targeting school leavers.



Developing work-based learning in England

This chapter looks at training delivered by and through the employer, and therefore primarily in the workplace. In England, training in the workplace is not systematic and subject to little quality assurance. In many apprenticeship systems training provided by employers in the workplace goes beyond training provided as part of the off-the-job training in England. The strategic objective should be to re-establish work-based training as a quality-assured and central attribute of English apprenticeships. Since work-based learning is the most effective way of preparing apprentices for working life, employers should be encouraged to take more responsibility for training in work places. This can be achieved by introducing regulations and standards for work-based learning, and by investing in the training capacity of employers.


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