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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.

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Funding of apprenticeship and the levy in England

This chapter compares the apprenticeship levy in England with other levy models around the world. It argues that the apprenticeship levy may have incentive effects, particularly on larger levy-paying employers, encouraging them to fund more apprenticeships. This raises two strategic challenges. The first is ensuring that the newly introduced apprentice standards, alongside other reforms, represent high quality, so that they fully deserve to be incentivised at the expense of other forms of training and skills development. The second linked challenge is to ensure that the funding rules, and other sources of public expenditure, provide effective funding for the apprenticeship system taken as a whole, so as to underpin the quality of individual apprenticeships.

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