Apprentice scheme not flexible enough

The performance of the UK’s skills base is as disappointing as England’s performance in Euro 2000, according to the chairman of the National Training Organisation’s national council.

Garry Hawkes called for modern apprenticeship schemes to become more flexible to create a world-class workforce. He is concerned that modern apprenticeships focus too much on 16- to 18-year-olds and neglect funding for the 19-24 age group.

The NTO council also wants to introduce technical certificates and the equivalent of a day a week off-the-job training during a modern apprenticeship.

Hawkes’ comments come following the DfEE’s call for businesses to breathe new life into the modern apprenticeships scheme (Personnel Today, 4 July).

He said, “The UK must not be content to be in the top 16 but must raise its aspirations. There is a clear mismatch between students’ aspirations, course provision and the workplace reality.

“At the same time we have capped the aspirations of young people wanting to take modern apprenticeships. How many industrialised countries put a fixed number on how many apprenticeships can be completed at any one time?

“It is no wonder that we spend only 1 per cent of GDP on publicly funded apprenticeship training compared with an EU average of nearly 2 per cent.”

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