Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

REC Response to apprenticeships announcement by Gillian Keegan

Responding to a government announcement that young people will be able to use UCAS to search and apply for apprenticeships, REC's director of campaigns Shazia Ejaz said:

"Education Secretary Gillian Keegan's commitment to expanding apprenticeships and vocational education pathways is welcome but we hope this announcement today is not the finished article on reform of the Apprenticeship system and in particular the Apprenticeship Levy.

"Making it easier for young people to consider vocational training through UCAS is a positive move. But we need to broaden the access to the money from the Apprenticeship Levy that businesses pay into. Employers need that to help them recruit in a time of huge labour and skills shortages.

"We know the government is looking at how to tackle older worker inactivity in the labour market and thinking of how the apprenticeship levy can be used to help over 50s train or re-train makes a lot of sense.

"Today's announcement does nothing to help temporary workers which are such a crucial part of the UK jobs market and who are automatically cut off from valuable training opportunities because apprenticeships must last for at least 12 months. The current focus on year-long apprenticeships disadvantages many businesses trying to fill vacancies quickly and in areas such as hospitality or logistics where shorter courses would work just as well to meet employer needs which will then unlock growth in the economy."