DfEE seeks firms’ help on future skills training

The Government has pledged to overhaul the ailing modern apprenticeships scheme which faces renewed criticism from employers this week.

Industry figures have claimed that modern apprenticeships – the Government’s flagship scheme to provide young people with vocational qualifications – is failing them badly, with only a third completing their training.

Education and employment minister David Blunkett admitted that young trainees were not sticking with companies or completing their qualifications. At the launch of the Government’s learning and skills agenda last week he championed a plan to work with employers to breathe new life into the scheme.

The DfEE wants businesses to let it know how to rework the programme, which currently employs about 120,000 young people. Blunkett said, “We need to give young people the guidance they need and engage businesses in the process.”

Margaret Murray, head of learning and skills at the CBI, said, “There is a major problem with modern apprenticeships – the extent to which young people are prepared for them. We need better career guidance from schools.

The government research which formed the basis of the consultation document was the result of 23,000 interviews and revealed employers thought two million UK staff were not proficient at their jobs.

Clive Stokes, personnel director of manufacturing company Hidden Hearing, said, “What is crucial is that people have abilities like keyboard and communication skills to allow them to do the things needed by employers.”


Modern apprenticeships: briefing

What are modern apprenticeships? They are vocational qualifications which can be taken at two levels: foundation modern apprenticeships (previously national traineeships) and advanced modern apprenticeships (formerly modern apprenticeships)

What qualifications do they lead to? They lead to NVQs – Level 3 (Advanced) and Level 2 (Foundation)

What do modern apprentices learn? They learn key skills such as literacy and numeracy and other qualifications required by industry

Who designs and funds the training? The training is framework-based. It is designed by national training organisations (NTOs), funded by Tecs (Training and Enterprise Councils), supported by the careers service and delivered through employers and training providers

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