9 Apprenticeships |
Government proposals on apprenticeships
114. DWP have highlighted that apprenticeships
could form one component of a programme of tailored support for
young unemployed people, to help them into sustainable employment.
The 2010 Spending Review stated that the Government planned to
increase funding "by £250 million a year by 2014-15
on new adult apprenticeships, compared with the previous Government's
level of spending".
Previously, in September 2010, the Government had announced that
it would allocate an additional £150 million to create 50,000
additional adult apprenticeships in 2010-11.
115. Despite the current economic conditions,
the Minister and Claire Burton, Head of the joint Department for
Business, Innovation and Skills and Department for Education Apprenticeships
Unit, were confident that employers would be willing and able
to deliver the increased number of apprenticeship places. They
indicated that the allocation of 50,000 places for 2010-11 is
likely to be fully taken up by employers, and pointed out that
in the previous two years the Government had had to cap the number
of places available to employers because the demand exceeded the
funding available for places.
116. There was support for the development of
more apprenticeship places from a number of witnesses. The CBI,
for example, argued that employer-led apprenticeships provide
sustainable jobs, structured pathways for career development and
high wages. Their figures show that around 90% of apprentices
find employment (or self employment) immediately after their training
Suitability of unemployed young
people for apprenticeships
117. A number of witnesses emphasised the importance
of the apprenticeships system including some provision for young
people facing significant obstacles to the employment market.
Centrepoint told us that, while it supported the proposal to fund
more apprenticeships, the Government should ensure that they are
made available to vulnerable young people and that they do not
simply "cream off the more able young people".
The Association of Learning Providers were similarly concerned
that apprenticeships may not reach the same clients that the FJF
was intended foryoung people who were previously unable
or unwilling to join apprenticeship programmes.
118. In his oral evidence, Professor Paul Gregg
said that many young people who are facing long-term unemployment,
the group that the FJF was aimed at, do not have the necessary
qualifications to get onto the higher level (level 3) apprenticeships.
He believed that lower level apprenticeships were less meaningful
in terms of employment opportunities and wages.
119. We welcome the increased
funding for and increased number of apprenticeships and expect
the Government to ensure that, where appropriate, these opportunities
are made available to unemployed young people previously targeted
by the FJF.
recommend that, in response to this Report, the Government provides
us with statistics on:
- the number of apprenticeship
starts planned for January to June 2011 compared with the corresponding
period in 2010; and
- the number of these apprenticeships
expected to be taken up by 18-24 year olds who were previously
unemployed for six months or more.
are concerned that apprenticeships may not be the most suitable
route into employment for those young people at the highest risk
of long-term unemployment. These young people may have left school
with no qualifications, have no experience of work, or have difficult
family circumstances, and in some cases they may not be ready
to start an apprenticeship. We are keen to ensure that alternative
provision (for example, personal support, training and work opportunities)
should be available to help those who are not ready for an apprenticeship.
Links between the Work Programme
122. The Minister told us that one of the roles
of the Work Programme would be to prepare and encourage young
people to take up opportunities such as apprenticeships:
A central task of the Work Programme providers, as
I see it, is to ensure that they actually support, motivate, encourage
and provide the right degree of directionmatching an individual
to opportunity and so forthactually to get that young person
into an apprenticeship.
123. Groundwork UK offered a positive example
of the way in which the FJF had complemented apprenticeships.
In partnership with British Gas, they trialled using FJF posts
as a pre-apprenticeship period (for example in teams of loft insulation
or cavity wall technicians). Where young people completed the
FJF post, there were opportunities for them to undertake a full
apprenticeship with British Gas. Groundwork UK believed that there
should be more opportunities to convert successful FJF posts into
apprenticeships and that the Work Programme might consider how
FJF-style posts could help young unemployed people gain apprenticeships.
124. Tracy Fishwick echoed this view, commenting
that even as the FJF programme moves to its latter stages it may
be possible to link FJF jobs to apprenticeships "in a structured
way, so that people who start on the Future Jobs Fund move into
apprenticeships and do not dip inbetween".
This reflects the concern that once some young people finish
their FJF post, there will be no opportunities or support for
them, and they may fall back into unemployment.
125. The DWP and Work Programme
providers should consider how to attract those furthest from the
labour market to apprenticeships and how to encourage employers
to take on such individuals as apprentices. We recommend that
the Government looks closely at the lessons to be learned from
the Future Jobs Fund in terms of the most effective ways to prepare
such individuals for apprenticeships.
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