Apprentice system marred by flaws

any other readers encountered the massive failings within the Modern
Apprenticeship and NVQ systems?

years ago we sought an initial intake of six apprentices. The idea was to select
an individual at each of our branches and set them up for a four-year Modern
Apprenticeship based through their local Tec, ideally each doing the same

the company set a minimum standard of education for those we wished to
interview, I was accused of selecting the best rather than interview personnel
they already had on their books. Yes, I stand guilty as accused of wishing to
choose someone who had the aptitude to stay the course, in return for full
training both inside and outside the apprenticeship set-up.

year into the apprenticeship I found that colleges and training centres had
withheld the registration of some apprentices and kept others waiting, to see
how many dropped out from the scheme, thus saving the registration fee. I was
dumbfounded that this could happen without an employer’s knowledge. I asked
each Tec to rectify this situation, but progress was slow.

problems compound further when sending the apprentices to college. I asked one
college for information on an apprentice’s progress and attendance there and
was told that the individual’s agreement had to be sought under the Data
Protection Act. Surely not? As the employer pays for an individual to go to
college during working hours, surely this allows the company the right to
relevant information?

have also found inconsistencies in the NVQ units, which are “national” in title
only, not in interpreting standards nor in the competence of the assessors. One
apprentice lost a whole year’s work because the assessor had not met the
required standard and to transfer the apprentice to another college would
warrant all the work being carried out again.

this time we have continued to recruit and will remain on track as LGH
supplements the apprentice training with its own internal courses. My
colleagues and I even took the D32/33 assessors’ course in order to understand
the vagaries of the NVQ system. Yet no one has ever sought our opinions or
seconded us on to working groups that map out this type of scheme.

Technical director, LGH Group

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