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The Government’s flagship apprenticeships policies, including the apprenticeship levy that comes into force next week, lack focus and will not fill widening skills gaps, MPs have concluded.
The Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy found that the apprenticeship levy and the target of three million apprenticeship "starts" by 2020 are “blunt instruments” that risk being unduly focused on simply increasing participation.
Committee chair Neil Carmichael said: “We must train our young people for jobs that the economy needs, but the Government has failed to show how its three million target and levy will help achieve this.
“Ministers must recognise that apprenticeships are a means to an end and not an end in themselves. They need to place greater emphasis on outcomes, focusing on areas of the economy where training is most needed and ensuring quantity does not trump quality.
The committee said that the success of apprenticeships should be judged by whether individual apprentices secure employment. Ministers should also look into restructuring the apprenticeship levy by sector or by region, and ensure that targets do not hamper attempts to improve quality.
“For too long apprenticeships have been seen as inferior to the university route and failed to benefit young people from disadvantaged backgrounds,” added Carmichael. “We fully support the Governmen