The BBC reports that the study by think tank Reform says many firms have rebranded existing roles after being obliged to contribute cash to on-the-job training.
The study says 40% of the apprenticeship standards approved do not meet traditional definition of such skilled on-the-job training courses.
As part of the changes, it introduced an apprenticeship levy on organisations paying more than £3m in salaries a year. They have to pay 0.5% of their wages total into a “digital account” held by HMRC.
They then “spend” these contributions on apprenticeship training delivered by registered providers. They can also get back up to 90% of the cost of training.
The report says: “As part of the government’s wider package of reforms to apprenticeships, groups of employers came together to write the new ‘apprenticeship standards’.
“Some used this opportunity to generate high-quality standards, but others appear to be simply rebadging low-quality, low-skill and often low-wage roles as ‘apprenticeships’ instead.”
Coffee giant Starbucks is advertising for hospitality team member barista apprentices on the official website to make and serve coffee in its branches. But from online chat rooms it appears that people usually get trained for a couple of weeks before beginning work. Starbucks is yet to respond to the BBC’s request for a comment.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said “Our reforms have fundamentally changed what apprenticeships are, as we made it a requirement that all apprenticeships must be real paid jobs lasting for a minimum of 12 months, with at least 20% off-the-job training.”
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