Government falls behind its apprenticeship schedule

The government is failing to take on apprenctices, despite its plans to double the number of apprentices to 500,000 a year by 2020, new figures have revealed.

An audit conducted by Government Skills, the Sector Skills Council for central government, seen by the Financial Times (FT), showed only 300 apprentices out of a civil service of about 600,000.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills – responsible for England’s apprenticeship policy, does not have a single apprentice.

The audit found no apprentices in the 6,000-strong Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the 3,000-strong Home Office, or among Revenue and Customs’ 92,000 employees. The Valuation Office, a Revenue executive agency, has 53.

Nationwide, the civil service accounts for less than 0.002% of the 180,000 people apprenticed annually, according to the FT.

Earlier this month, civil service head Gus O’Donnell announced that a ‘Building Professional Skills for Government’ programme aimed at boosting skills in the civil service has been launched.

It would also see the creation of an additional 500 apprenticeships in government departments.

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