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Tougher Rules on Apprenticeships

Skills Minister announces plans to improve the quality and standards of Apprenticeships, including the introduction of a minimum 12-month rule.

The plans were announced at the House of Commons by John Hayes, the Skills Minister, amidst a backdrop of growing concern of the quality of the apprenticeship scheme as highlighted by the latest episode of BBC Panorama - The Great Apprenticeship Scandal.

“Following the introduction of the first ever statutory standards for Apprenticeships, we’ve taken strong and decisive action to tackle short duration Apprenticeships and review sub-contracting arrangements,” said John Hayes. As reported by this article on the Apprenticeships website, developments include:

  • From August 2012, all Apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds will be for a minimum of 12 months
  • NAS and the Skills Funding Agency’s comprehensive review of all short duration programmes has already resulted in significant improvements to many Apprenticeships and the withdrawal of inadequate sub-contracted provision
  • New safeguards are being put in place to strengthen monitoring, reporting and subcontracting arrangements, including making public a list of all sub contracted provision over £100,000
  • New contracts will ensure that training providers not only act according to regulations, but also within the spirit of the Apprenticeship programme
  • A new ‘enquiry panel’ has been established, reporting directly to the Minister, to manage poor quality providers as soon as they are reported.

FE Week also reports that If an apprentice aged 19 or above has prior learning or attainment, the minimum is reduced to six months for achieving a framework.

“The majority of apprenticeships are the gold standard in vocational training. They boost individuals’ life chances and build the skills that drive growth," "...But we must be relentless in our drive to ensure all apprenticeships are as good as the best, to identify and root out any instances of poor quality provision, and to raise the bar on standards,"  commented John Hayes, the skills minister.

"We are taking strong and decisive action to tackle short duration so all apprentices receive high quality training and workplace learning setting them on the road to a long, rewarding career."

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