Document Abstract

Making apprenticeships work

Assesses the factors that affect the value of apprenticeships and the emerging evidence on whether the current policy will deliver high value apprenticeships. Summarises the apprenticeships policy landscape in England, including information on the Apprenticeship Levy and reforms. Draws on evidence from: roundtable events involving businesses, providers and policymakers; analysis of the earnings outcomes for apprentices (Labour Force Survey) and analysis of data from the Department of Education; and a review of UK and international literature. Outlines the current trends in apprenticeship numbers in the UK and evaluates whether recent and current apprenticeship regimes are delivering good outcomes. Examines returns on apprenticeship by level, age, and subject area/sector (manufacturing, construction, wholesale/retail, education, health and social care). Highlights the prevalence of apprenticeships in low-skilled, low-wage occupations. Discusses a number of concerns: apprenticeships are undertaken in occupations vulnerable to automation; apprenticeship training is being undertaken when other training would be more appropriate or cost effective; employees are being reclassified as apprentices; apprenticeship standards may be too narrow; and concerns about the consistency of quality of apprenticeship training providers. Examines the role for policymakers in delivering higher quality apprenticeships. Recommends: ‘Apprenticeship Value Premiums’ should be calculated for each occupation; ‘Apprenticeship Excellence Ratings’ should be introduced to help employers choose the best training providers, and candidates choose the best employers and apprenticeship schemes; and a simple labelling system.


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Gicheva, Nicole; Keohane, Nigel; Corfe, Scott
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Social Market Foundation (SMF)

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