Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Rt Hon Jim Knight MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners, Department for Children, Schools and Families

  I would like to thank you for the opportunity offered by the Committee for Lord Young and me to give evidence on the Apprenticeships Draft Bill on Wednesday 22 October.

  You will recall that I undertook to provide a note on the possible barriers in being accepted on an Apprenticeship at Level 3 with a 14-19 Diploma at Level 2. I can confirm that there is nothing in the Bill that would prevent such progression.

  In World-Class Apprenticeships, we set out the threshold for the Apprenticeship Entitlement at Level 2 and Level 3, and these requirements are included Clause 22 (2) 3I. A Diploma at Level 2 meets the requirement for a specified Level 2 qualification. Outwith the requirements specific to Apprenticeship Entitlement, the Bill does not interfere with an employer's right to employ whoever they want and at whatever level.

  Each Apprenticeship Framework is designed to meet employers' needs and each framework is specific to that occupation. Any entry criteria is set by the relevant Sector Skills Council and designed to ensure that individuals can complete the Framework.

  The Learning and Skills Council is currently working on the revised blueprint (described in the draft Bill as the "specification of apprenticeship standards"), which will require every framework to show clear progression routes both to the other 14-19 progression routes and higher education. We have also asked the employer-led Diploma Development Partnerships, which are supported by the Sector Skills Councils, to look at the pathways from Diplomas to Apprenticeships. We want to ensure that young people know whether they need to take particular qualifications within the Additional and Specialist Learning (ASL) component of the Diploma so that they have the knowledge and skills needed to progress from, say, the Construction and Built Environment Diploma at Level 2 to a Level 3 Construction Apprenticeship.

  I remain determined that there should be as easy movement from Diplomas to Apprenticeships as there is from Diplomas to A levels and higher education. Apprenticeships require strong practical skills, and it therefore follows that learners wanting to move into Level 3 Apprenticeships will have used ASL to acquire these relevant skills.

November 2008

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