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.



Quality in apprenticeship qualifications and assessment in England

Quality assurance faces new requirements given the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, the replacement of frameworks by standards and other connected reforms. This chapter argues that apprentice standards need to be coherent with the wider system of vocational qualifications and manageable in number. They should be designed so as to ensure the transferability of skills and allow for the recognition of prior learning. England proposes to achieve consistency in assessment standards through multiple bodies conducting the assessment. The chapter argues that given the key role of consistent assessment standards in the credibility and reputation of apprentice qualifications these plans should be reviewed.


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