Government kick-starts plans to reach 2020 apprenticeship target

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placeholderThe government has announced over the weekend that the term ‘apprenticeship’ will be protected in law and that apprenticeships will be given equal treatment under law as university degrees.

The government has made a commitment to create three million new apprenticeships by the end of the current Parliament in 2020, a commitment which will also be enshrined in law, with public bodies being given targets to help reach the figure.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills believes that these measures will strengthen the reputation of apprenticeships and ‘help working people’ by ensuring that apprenticeships are recognised as a career path equal to higher education.

With over 2.2 million apprenticeships created since 2010, which the government claims has helped establish the UK as the fastest growing economy in the G7, the government will also enshrine in law its commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

With apprenticeships giving hope and opportunity to more young people, and helping all types and sizes of businesses grow in communities across the UK, the Skills Minister will legally protect the term ‘apprenticeship’ through the Enterprise Bill. This will give government the power to take action when the term is misused to promote low quality courses.

To ensure that more young people can benefit the minister has also announced that public bodies will now be set targets to take on more apprentices. Schools, hospitals, prisons and police forces will all be creating opportunities for young people to get on.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said, “If university graduates have their moment in the sun so should people who undertake apprenticeships. Businesses know their value so it’s high time they were recognised both by the public and in law as being equal to degrees.We want far more employers to get involved in apprenticeships. This means making sure that we practise what we preach in government, so we’re going require all public sector bodies – schools, hospitals, prisons and police forces – to employ apprentices.

Mike Thompson, Director of Early Careers at banking giant Barclays commented on apprenticeships being given protected legal status, saying,” (The) announcement on plans to give apprenticeships a lawful definition is great news to start the week. This could be the first step in finally giving proper recognition to apprenticeships in the UK. Currently, over a third of young people under 25 believe apprenticeships are only an option if you don’t get into university. But, having seen first-hand the benefits to young people and businesses alike, more needs to be done to ease this stigma and increase take up. One important step in doing this will be to ensure uniform quality of apprenticeships, alongside scale of their availability. It will also help to ease the currently fragmented system and allow employers to more easily understand the qualifications of applicants. We look forward to continuing our own work in developing apprenticeship schemes and helping other businesses, especially SMEs to do the same.”

You may be interested in: Apprentices and School Leavers Conference 2015

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