The figures also show major discrepancies between sectors. The motor industry and engineering manufacturing performed better than average, with 44 per cent and 36 per cent completion rates respectively, but the hospitality and retailing sectors only achieved 15 per cent and 11 per cent.
John Brennan, director of further education development at the Association of Colleges, says: "I’m disappointed that one of the major government programmes for young people has such a low success rate."
He adds that while the Government has been keen to challenge colleges on the success of further education programmes it has been less vocal about the much lower completion rates for modern apprenticeships. "The question is, what does the Government intend to do and is it committed to raising standards in this area of work-based programmes?"
One of the main reasons for the low success rate appears to be the attitude of employers. A DfEE study last September on work-based training generally, Tackling Early Leaving from Youth Programmes, said some training providers had suggested "that a number of employers pressurise young people to leave training early or to take up permanent employment with or without training".
Another problem, according to the DfEE, was poor initial assessment by training providers of young people entering programmes such as Modern Apprenticeships. It found assessment can range from an interview to establish exam results to a much more rigorous assessment of basic and key skills. Proper initial assessment helps with retention, the study said.
Adrian Anderson, director of policy at the NTO National Council, says: "It’s clear a lot needs to be done on Modern Apprenticeships and that’s something both we and the DfEE recognise."
NTOs have developed the training frameworks delivered through Tecs, says Anderson, but he argues that NTOs could play a wider role in