Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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BIS response to NAO report on apprenticeships

BIS response to NAO report on apprenticeships

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 30 January 2012

Responding to The National Audit Office Assessment of Adult Apprenticeships, published today, John Hayes, Minister for Skills said: "Unprecedented investment, backed by tough new measures to ensure that quality matches quantity, has helped make apprenticeships the gold standard vocational qualification.

"So I am delighted that the NAO has recognised the progress we have made and that they identify the extraordinary economic benefits of apprenticeships. Few, if any, other government programmes produce anything like the return of £18 for every £1 spent let alone the still greater return that our economists estimate.

"It is also pleasing that the switch from Train To Gain to apprenticeships is recognised as having brought significant benefits.

“The report rightly identifies a need to prioritise investment where returns are greatest, and that is what the Government is doing. We will continue to drive improvement by developing new higher level apprenticeships, giving training providers more freedom to meet the needs of local businesses, reducing bureaucracy and making financial incentives available to small firms hiring their first apprentices."

Simon Waugh, Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) said:

“The NAO report recognises the value and benefit of the Government’s continued investment in Apprenticeships and that the programme is well run. It also endorses the Government's decision to make Apprenticeships the flagship policy.

"The apprenticeship programme has seen strong growth in the 16-24 age range as well as the 25+ age group, with the fastest growth at Advanced Level. More employers than ever are using Apprenticeships to recruit new employees and to build skills in their business. The introduction from April of additional support for smaller employers recruiting an apprentice for the first time will make it easier for them to recruit young people.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring that every Apprenticeship provides both the employer and the apprentice with a high quality experience which meets their needs. We are working with the Skills Funding Agency and other partners to raise the bar on quality, recognise excellence, and drive out poor performance; reducing unnecessary red-tape and bureaucracy for those who engage with the Apprenticeship programme.

“We will continue to strive to ensure that Apprenticeships represent the best value for money for the investment made in them by Government and by employers.”

The National Audit Office assessment shows that the apprenticeships programme continues to be highly valued by apprentices and businesses alike.

Key findings include:

· Public spending on apprenticeships is offering a good return on investment.

· Apprenticeship starts have expanded amongst all age groups, despite a challenging economic climate.

· OFSTED inspectors and learners are positive about the quality of provision, with 91% of Apprentices satisfied with their training.

· The programme is well coordinated by its two sponsor Departments, BIS and DfE, which oversee the National Apprenticeships Service and the Skills Funding Agency.

The NAO report is available at

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