Document Abstract

Better apprenticeships: access, quality and labour market outcomes in the English apprenticeship system

Presents two reports, the first of which analyses whether sufficient quality indicators are in place to facilitate social mobility for young people through apprenticeships in England, while the second considers whether there is an earnings differential from starting an apprenticeship for young people. Looks at apprenticeship participation and discusses quality as defined and measured in apprenticeship policy. Identifies four systemic problems with the current apprenticeship model in England: there is inconsistency across sectors and levels; the segmentation of apprenticeship by level puts an artificial break on progression; there is no robust procedure in place to ensure existing employees are improving their skills rather than just being accredited for their existing competence; and the funding arrangements do not incentivise quality. Provides an analytical framework to support quality improvement through a more ‘expansive’ approach to apprenticeships. Considers whether the policy focus on apprenticeships is a worthwhile investment for young people at the beginning of their careers relative to other options. Draws on administrative linked education-earnings data to examine this question for the cohort of students who finished their compulsory education in 2003, at age 16. Finds that, while there is a positive differential for having started an apprenticeship in many contexts, the extent of this differential depends on the apprenticeship sector, and it is not always higher than the average payoff from only doing classroom-based qualifications, whether academic or vocational.


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Fuller, Alison et al
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Sutton Trust

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