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.



Promoting and strengthening youth apprenticeships in England

Increasingly, the English apprenticeship system has become numerically dominated by growing numbers of adult apprenticeships. This chapter argues that England could benefit from more youth apprenticeships, strengthened in quality. It explores how youth apprenticeships could be promoted both to employers and young people, by setting the wages and benefits of young apprentices appropriately. The chapter argues that English apprenticeship for young people should provide more general education, including for apprentices that already have Level 2 English and maths qualifications, noting that in comparison to many other countries youth apprentices in England receive less general education. The eligibility of apprentices aged 16-19 for social benefits should also be re-appraised, recognising the need to ensure the attractiveness of apprenticeship.



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