Submission from Skillset
SCRUTINY OF THE DRAFT APPRENTICESHIPS BILL
1. Please find below a Memorandum from Skillset,
the Sector Skills Council for Creative Media. In this document
we would like to respond from our sector's point of view.
2. Skillset will also be submitting a full
response to the DCSF/DIUS consultation on the Draft Apprenticeships
Bill. However, we felt that the Committee's questions differed
and complemented the questions in the Government consultation.
3. Skillset is the Sector Skills Council
for the Creative Media industries. Jointly funded by industry
and government, our job is to make sure that the UK creative media
industries have the right people, with the right skills, in the
right place, at the right time, so that our industries remain
4. We are responsible for the following
sectors: Publishing, Television, Film, Radio, Animation, Interactive
Media, Computer Games, Photo Imaging, Facilities. Please note
however, that the publishing sector has only recently come to
our footprint. Therefore, the responses here are mainly reflecting
our experience from working with the Audio Visual Industries.
5. Our sector attracts a highly qualified
workforce. Apprenticeships have not been widely used by the industry
in the past, due to a need for more flexible frameworks. Following
consultation with industry, support for Apprenticeships has been
established in a number of specific occupational areas.
6. Our industry has also expressed a clear
aim to address the diversity of the workforce including opening
up new entry points into the industry to achieve this. Across
our industries there is a tradition of `apprenticeship style training'
and on-the job new entrant's provision. These apprentices are
not on formal government schemes either because they are graduates,
older than the required age group to activate public funding or
employers have found the formal Apprenticeship requirements difficult
to work with.
7. Skillset has developed a comprehensive
Sector Qualifications Strategy (SQS) that addresses issues and
priorities identified in relation to qualifications and other
learning provision used or needed by the creative media industries.
The SQS is a UK-wide strategic document that provides a basis
for planned, intensive activity by all stakeholders, to realise
the sector's vision for future qualification and learning provision
that is demand-led and that supports progression and development
at all levels. Learning provision needs to be adaptable and flexible
to meet the diverse needs of the entire workforce.
8. In World Class Apprenticeships, the Government's
Strategy for the future of Apprenticeships in England, there is
an aspiration that every suitably qualified young person who wants
to take up an Apprenticeship place will be able to do so by 2013;
in our written submission to DIUS (following the consultation
on this strategy) we made clear that any plans to implement this
aspiration should consider an important factorthe capacity
of the industry to support this. The proposed entitlement, that
every 16-18 year old will be guaranteed an Apprenticeship place
in his or her first- or second-choice sector, is also reliant
on the places in that sector being available.
9. We feel that the Bill addresses many
of the issues required to realise and implement the World Calss
Apprenticeships Strategy. We welcome in particular, Clause 22Assistance
and support in relation to apprenticeship places.
10. We are also aware that by translating
parts of the Strategy into a legal document many elements are
"lost in translation". We would like to alert the IUSS
Committee that Clause 21 of the Draft Bill regarding the Apprenticeship
entitlement, defines an "available sector" for each
young person's entitlement as relating to a person's election
of 1st and 2nd choice of apprenticeship sector. In order for this
Bill to be workable, we think that a person's selection must not
be the only criterion for "available sector". We fill
that what is missing is the "availability" from the
perspective of the sector / employer. If the sector does not,
or cannot, support the provision of Apprenticeship places to be
deemed an "apprenticeship sector", can their "suitability
and availability" be a provision of the Bill?
11. The continued role of Sector Skills
Councils in developing Apprenticeship frameworks and their responsibility
for approving all frameworks on behalf of their industries is
very welcome. As an SSC, we also accept our central role in engaging
industry to realise the aspirations of the World Class Apprenticeships
12. In moving forward we would like to see
provision in the Draft Bill that takes consideration of the role
of employers and businesses in the identification of need for
Apprenticeship frameworks and for their provision in their sector.
We support the aspiration, but, in order to realise the vision,
there needs to be provision for engagement with each sector to
assess where an Apprenticeship entitlement can represent a viable
and appropriate skills solution.
Does the bill meet the Government's policy objectives
to set up a system of "world class" apprenticeships
in the most effective way within a reasonable time frame?
13. We welcome the intention in the Draft
Bill to provide the appropriate legislative framework for the
implementation of the World Class Apprenticeships Strategy. We
feel that some parts of the strategy will be well supported within
14. For example: Clause 22Assistance
and support in relation to apprenticeship places. (1) (a) + (b)
Skillset welcomes the provision of support, by the Secretary of
State, for assisting persons to find Apprenticeship places and
for the provision of other services for assisting the effective
participation of persons, as this supports access and diversity.
15. Clause 22(5) (a) Skillset also
welcomes the fact that the Secretary of State may make arrangements
for the provision of services, which may include provision for
grants, loans and other kinds of financial assistance in relation
to Apprenticeship places.
16. For both (1) and (5) of Clause 22, we
would welcome recognition of the need for assistance and support
for employers and businesses, particularly for SMEs and micro-businesses,
including financial assistance where that is essential to make
apprenticeship places available to meet priority skills needs.
17. However, the Bill does not necessarily
provide for "effectiveness". It provides for duty of
responsibility for Learning and Skills Council to ensure sufficient
and appropriate Apprenticeship places and access to Apprenticeship
place in one of two chosen sectors. It does not provide for how
this will be achieved in terms of engaging employers and supporting
capacity in businesses to suggest how this will meet the Government's
policy objectives in the most effective way.
18. The contribution of the National Apprenticeship
Service and measures to ensure its "effectiveness" in
the system is not provided for in the Bill.
19. In terms of a time frame, the revised
Bill will be presented in 2009, but no timeframe is given for
Is the bill workable?
20. It is difficult to assess how workable
the Bill is because it does not make provision for the enhancement
of employer engagement with the Apprenticeship model, or provision
for supporting and building capacity in businesses (particularly
SMEs) to increase the number and variety of Apprenticeship places
available. The policy objective of an entitlement to an Apprenticeship
place for 16-18 year olds in the 1st or 2nd sector of their choice,
fails to embrace the concept of a demand-led system and the critical
role of industry in shaping, informing and leading on demand-led
provision that will meet their evidenced skills and training needs.
Will the bill lead to a renaissance in apprenticeships?
21. Again, this is hard to assess. Without
the provision for the role of industry in determining the "suitability
and availability of Apprenticeship places," (3H) the policy
objective of delivering an entitlement to an Apprenticeship place
in the 1st or 2nd choice of sector cannot be met. If a sector
does not support the Apprenticeship model as a viable and appropriate
skills solution, they will not engage with the scheme. The amendment
to the Learning and Skills Act 2000, to inset 3E"Duty
of Council to secure availability of apprenticeship places"
will not, in isolation, achieve this objective.
What is the cost?
What impact the bill will have on current institutional
22. No comment.
Is there anything missing from the draft bill?
23. Yes. The role of, and support for, employers
and businesses in the identification of need for Apprenticeship
frameworks and for their provision in their sector, where they
represent a viable and appropriate skills solution. We feel that
such a point should be inserted.
24. For example: Clause 21 Availability
of apprenticeship places.
will not be industry-led if frameworks and places are created
to meet entitlement requirements, as opposed to meeting industry
skills and training needs.
26. 2 (2) (a) the "available sectors
chosen" are from the full range of sectors and occupations,
rather than from sectors that support Apprenticeships as a viable
skills solution. How can the LSC/NSA secure availability of Apprenticeship
places in a person's 1st or 2nd choice independent to securing
sector/employer support for the Apprenticeship model?
27. 23F (2) "available sectors"
should also be determined by the need and support for Apprenticeships
in the sector to meet current and forecast skills and training
needsand not just according to the meaning of "available"
given in 3K (ie "available" in relation to a person's
election under section 3F.
28. 23H"Suitability and
availability of apprenticeship places: further provision."
This should also include "availability" from the perspective
of the sector / employer. If the sector does not, or cannot, support
the provision of Apprenticeship places to be deemed an "apprenticeship
sector", can their "suitability and availability"
be a provision of the Bill?
29. 23K(3) Definition of an
"available sector" is given as relating to a person's
election of 1st and 2nd choice of apprenticeship sector. For the
effectiveness of the Bill, a person's selection should not be
the only criterion for "available sector". Industry
support and capacity should also be assessed, in order to make
this person's aspiration a reality.