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City & Guilds: Expected drop in apprenticeship stats tomorrow

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Managing Director of City & Guilds and ILM, said

“We are fully supportive of the new apprenticeship system as a tool to enable career progression at all levels and to help employers fill skills gaps and shortages. And of course, we must not write-off a new system with so much potential before it has had the chance to get established. However, we equally cannot ignore the signs that the system as it is currently structured clearly isn’t working for many employers.

“We believe more must be done by Government now to inject some momentum back into apprenticeships and build confidence in a skills system that provides high-quality technical pathways and creates a better-skilled workforce. We have heard from employers and employer bodies that they would welcome increased flexibility in how the apprenticeship levy is used. It is critical that Government listens to their voices now if the system is to succeed in the future.

“We believe that unless steps are taken to directly address this issue now, we will never be able to reduce the skills gaps and skills shortages faced by so many UK industries.

“A one-size-fits-all solution simply doesn’t work for employers. We need to see much better analysis of the figures to understand which sectors in particular are struggling with the current system and where the drops in starts are coming from. With that understanding the Government can then look at interventions for specific sectors and types of apprenticeships where more support is needed.

“Government would benefit from demonstrating strong decisive leadership to resolve the issues now, which in turn would result in increased confidence, take up and engagement from employers and an increased number of apprentices.”