Quality of apprenticeships is just as important as quantity, according to a new report Remaking Apprenticeships launched today by the City & Guilds Alliance.

The report, written by Professor Bill Lucas and Ellen Spencer of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester, suggests that apprenticeships should aim to teach young people not only mastery over their chosen profession and basic literacy and numeracy skills, but also core employability skills including resourcefulness, adaptability and communication.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, UK Managing Director at City & Guilds said:

“We all know that the future of the UK economy rests on our ability to meet the skills needs of industry, but this doesn’t mean our approach to apprenticeships should be a numbers game. We must first and foremost ensure the quality is high. The City & Guilds Alliance commissioned this research to take a hard look at what makes a good quality apprenticeship, namely the teaching and assessment.”

This report is launched in the run up to a general election where both Labour and Conservatives have promised a huge increase in the number of apprenticeships. It proposes practical tools with the aim of enabling everyone involved in remaking apprenticeships, from the government to employers and teachers, to collaborate in the formation of a world-leading apprenticeship system that will lead to a stronger workforce in the UK.

Andy Smyth, Vocational Learning Development Manager, TUI Group said:

“At TUI we welcome this piece of research which puts the spotlight firmly on embedding quality into the apprenticeship system. Apprenticeships should have an eye on the learner’s future career giving an understanding of the world of business and the vital soft skills needed to flourish inside and outside of work.

“To ensure the apprenticeship system works for all there is a real need for stability now with a focus on learning, process and content and a genuine understanding of the needs of employers. Following the recommendations in Remaking Apprenticeships should get us some way towards achieving that.”

Lucas and Spencer’s research demonstrates that a successful learning structure incorporates a blend of time with experts, hands-on experience, feedback, coaching, mentoring, competition and online learning.

Stewart Segal, Chief Executive, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said:

“Apprenticeships are now at the centre of skills development in the UK and therefore this report reinforces the message that high quality work-based learning is the most effective way forward. The report makes clear that both on-the-job and off-the-job learning should form a core dimension of an apprenticeship because the combination can help produce the desired job expertise, functional literacies and business-like attitudes required in a modern economy. We hope that the new standards being developed under the apprenticeship trailblazers will incorporate the report’s key recommendations.”

To view the report visit the City and Guilds website.