Take a stand on delivery

the Government requests feedback on the day-to-day mechanisms of Modern
Apprenticeships, Elaine Essery asks readers if employer requirements are being
heeded and if they feel involved

The Government’s first ‘end-to-end’ review focuses on the delivery of Modern
Apprenticeships. The review is led by the Learning Skills Council (LSC) and the
Department for Education and Science (DfES) and a steering group with
representatives from key bodies such as the Adult Learning Inspectorate, Sector
Skills Development Agency and even a Modern Apprentice.

Its remit includes looking at barriers to effective delivery and making
recommendations for a change programme to ensure that delivery mechanisms are
geared to achieving policy objectives. The team is expected to report soon, and
its results will inform the 2004 spending review. In light of the review, we
ask if MAs are meeting expectations and what changes are needed.

Alec Mcphedran
Training and talent development manager, Channel 4

In the audiovisual industry the content and projected outcomes of MAs are
fine, but bureaucratic barriers exist. Most people in our industry are on
short-term contracts, so few employers can support the duration of an MA scheme
because it’s not portable, modular or bite-sized.

Securing funding from the LSC is problematic because they rely on continuity
with whoever is training. There is no flexibility in financing; it tends to be
attached to organisations and training providers rather than individuals. Also,
in practice it is not as learner-centred as it should be. The MA delivery
approach is fine for 80 per cent of the UK, but not for those with no stability
or regular work.

David Goodson
Director of training UK EMEA, Marriott Hotels

The scheme works for us. Our completion rate is better than the average in
our sector because our corporate programme is centrally managed and locally

Because we have tied it in with the way we do things anyway, it has been
well-received. We already had a structured approach to training and
cross-reference our own training with MA requirements to use as evidence.

For a young person on an apprenticeship, there is a lot of paperwork
involved and that puts people off. And while I get little negative feedback, I
know that people feel it is a huge challenge so it needs to be simplified.

Gary Armitage
Squadron leader, RAF

Modern Apprenticeships give us a focus for our training and building
qualifications. The concept is fantastic. E-skills (the sector skills council
for IT, telecoms and contact centres) has been working with our telecoms trade
group and Edexcel to develop a national award as a technical certificate – a
good example of a work-based provider working with an Sector Skills Council

Many external verifiers from awarding bodies come direct from college and
need a better understanding of the workplace. If you are talking about key
skills in a work-based environment, you should apply those that are relevant to
that sector.

Mike Sanderson
Chief executive at the engineering Sector Skills Council, Semta

Our employers know what they want. We have established the engineering MA
framework to give them what they want, and it’s successful. The problem is that
the LSC is imposing bureaucratic rules onto our framework that will almost
certainly turn employers off. Our framework has always had the opportunity to
move to level 4, but LSC forbids it, so if a centre wants to offer this level,
it has to go to the Higher Education Funding Council for England(HEFCE). We
also want to include business-improvement techniques NVQs, but the LSC forbids
that, saying it would be too generic. Key skills are also a stumbling block. We
want more exemptions. Some employers are not prepared to send candidates for
five external exams that take time out of the work day.

Steve Lockwood
UK modern apprenticeship programme manager, EDS

While MAs are delivering what we need, I would like to see more employer
involvement in decision-making.

Where there is employer consultation, it’s too selective and not
representative enough. There is far too much influence from academia and
training providers rather than employer providers.

The Cassells report indicated more employer involvement was needed, and it has
been far too long for more not to have happened. Technical certificates are a
real bind. They go against the whole ethos of NVQs not being exam-based, and
you do not need them. There are more and more add-ons coming along, and it is
making many major employers think, ‘Do we really want all this hassle?’


What do you think? If you have a view on how Modern
Apprenticeships are conducted, then write to the editor. Or if you have a topic
you’d like to be discussed on our Talking Points page, let us know in no more
than 50 words. Send correspondence to Stephanie Sparrow, Editor, Training
Magazine, by e-mail: [email protected],
fax: 020-8652 8805 or post: Training Magazine, 3rd floor, Quadrant House, The
Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. Please include full contact details so that
we can get back to you.

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