Apprenticeships policy puts quality at risk, says IFS

The TES is reporting that the rapid expansion and new funding model could jeopardise quality and risk public money being used ineffectively.

The policy forcing all large public-sector employers to employ a set number of apprentices should be removed, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said.

The “potentially costly” policy, which states that 2.3 per cent of the workforce in public bodies in England should be apprentices, was largely designed to help the government hit its target for 3 million new apprentices – not as a way to increase the quality of public services, according to analysis of the reforms to apprenticeship funding by IFS researchers. Their report forms part of the forthcoming IFS Green Budget 2017.

It goes on to say: “This one-size-fits-all approach to all large public sector employers in England is clearly not a sensitive way to encourage more apprenticeships or to help deliver efficient public services.” Earlier this month, apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon had set a 200,000 additional apprenticeships target for the public sector, to be achieved by 2020.

In the analysis, the IFS also warns that the way apprenticeship funding will now be structured means employers will have to pay nothing, or a maximum of 10 per cent, of the training cost of apprentices, and this poses considerable risks to the efficient use of public money. The large expansion required to meet the government’s 3 million apprenticeships target also risks increasing quantity at the expense of quality, the researchers conclude.

More at: Apprenticeships policy puts quality at risk, says IFS

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