EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, has pledged its support to improve the quality of apprenticeships after a recent survey showed that over half of employers are equally as worried about damage to their reputation as qualifications.
28.8% of those who took part in the survey were concerned about the negative impact on the Apprenticeships brand, with a further 28.6% saying that the damage has already been done. Since the abolition of Train to Gain, questions have been raised about whether some ‘apprenticeships’ really live up to expectations or whether they are simply a way of earning some quick cash
Whilst 30% of employers polled felt that some flexibility is needed to suit different industries and apprentices of varying ages, almost half agreed that all apprenticeships should last for a minimum period of time to be worthy of the apprenticeship name.
This survey, carried out on behalf of EAL, surveyed 500 managing directors, HR staff and training and development leaders across the engineering, manufacturing, building services, construction, energy and utilities, and environmental services sectors.
Coverage, including the BBC’s Panorama programme ‘The Great Apprentice Scandal’, has cited examples of short duration programmes offering little benefit in terms of skills and employment prospects. The National Apprenticeship Service has since published its Quality Action Plan to address issues relating to quality, content and delivery, following Skills Minister John Hayes’ announcement that apprenticeships will last for a minimum of 12 months for all ages from August 2012.
“The dramatic increase in apprenticeships means there is now more need than ever for constructive debate around quality, investment and support, for young people in particular. Rooting out the minority of programmes that do not meet certain standards is vital,” said EAL Managing Director, Ann Watson.
“In the meantime, it would be entirely wrong to overlook the many positive experiences that Apprenticeship training offers individuals and their employers,” Ms Watson added.
“A balanced argument is needed during this time of change and evolution, to show both learners and businesses, as well as the general public, that an apprenticeship is a worthwhile option that can lead to and support fulfilling, long-term employment.”