Apprenticeships are not doing enough for youth unemployment

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A new report has found the apprenticeship system is not successfully supporting young people into work…

Analysis from the Institute for Public Policy Research has revealed flaws in the apprenticeship system.

According to the report, the number of apprenticeship places filled by young people has dropped over the past four years.

The study, ‘England’s Apprenticeships’, is set to be published next week. It highlights that while there was a 30 per cent increase in the total number of apprentices seen between 2010-11 and 2014-15, the number of younger apprentices (between 17 and 18) fell by 8,000.

The analysis also warned that for most apprentices these schemes do not offer progression beyond their currently level of qualification. Furthermore, many do not receive appropriate training.

Smaller businesses and the services sector are also not benefiting from the new system, which works well in large organisation focused on high-quality technical training.

Charlynne Pullen, senior research fellow at IPPR, said the apprenticeship scheme was not benefiting enough young people. “And this situation could get worse in the coming years,” she added.

“Training existing staff in what they already know isn’t what the public think of as an apprenticeship. There is a real risk of the new apprenticeship system repeating many of the same mistakes as the previous system that it is replacing.”

The IPPR recommended standards should be tightened, as well as the extension of the apprenticeship levy (due to be introduced next year) to small employers. It also called on the government to extend its deadline to deliver three million apprenticeship, warning there should be a focus on quality rather than quantity.

Jonathan Clifton, IPPR’s associate director for public services, said: “We need to create an apprenticeship system that works in a jobs market that is increasingly characterised by small firms, service sector jobs and flexible working.

“The government have made a number of steps in the right direction – including introducing an apprenticeship levy – but there is more work to be done to ensure that all young people have access to high-quality ‘earning and learning’ routes”.

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