‘There is still more to do’, is the message being relayed by skills minister Matthew Hancock following an evaluation of the government’s apprenticeships programme by a Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) select committee.
Hancock believes that apprenticeships are ‘vital’ for equipping people with the skills they need to prosper, and he and the government will now act on recommendations made by the committee.
In 2011, the government invested £1.2 billion into its apprenticeships programme, with that year yielding 457,200 new apprentices.
The BIS says that there still remain areas of the programme which need reform, citing policy, delivery and funding as areas for evaluation.
In its summary, the BIS adds that there is a risk that the rapid expansion may result in the programme becoming less focused. It says that David Cameron’s government needs to ‘clearly articulate’ the overarching strategy and purpose of the apprenticeships programme.
The delivery of the programme is too complex, it also reveals, with the ‘sheer number’ or organisations involved working against the efficient allocation of funds.
Hancock adds, ‘Apprenticeships are vital for equipping people with the skills they need to prosper, and the nation with the workforce we need to compete in the global race.
‘I welcome this timely and thorough investigation into apprenticeships, and will consider carefully its suggestions to help make the programme even more successful.’
In October, the BIS revealed that, for the full 2011/12 academic year, 502,500 started an apprenticeship, a rise on the figure from the pervious year.
As part of its findings, the department said that the figures revealed ‘particularly strong growth at advance and higher levels.’
For a full copy of the BIS report on the government’s apprenticeships programme, click here.