Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
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Draft legislation to create more high quality Apprenticeships fit for the 21st Century

Draft legislation to create more high quality Apprenticeships fit for the 21st Century

DEPARTMENT FOR INNOVATION, UNIVERSITIES AND SKILLS News Release (043/2008) issued by The Government News Network on 16 July 2008

New measures to ensure all apprenticeships are of a uniform high quality and have the confidence of both apprentices and employers were announced today by David Lammy and Jim Knight as the Government published its draft Apprenticeships Bill.

The Bill, which for the first time will establish a statutory basis for the entire apprenticeships programme, will set out clearly the relationship between different parts of the apprenticeship system and redefine the 'blueprint' outlining what apprenticeships should contain. It will ensure schools provide advice about apprenticeships where appropriate so that young people are properly informed about apprenticeships as a career choice.

Ten years ago, only 75,000 people started apprenticeships. Over the past decade, the Government has more than doubled the number of young people and adults starting high-quality apprenticeships, with 184,000 starts last year. But the measures outlined today underline the Government's recognition that it needs to go further - and massively increase the number of apprenticeships available to meet demand from young people.

The Government anticipates that around one in five of all young people will be undertaking an apprenticeship in the next decade and the draft Bill seeks to further establish apprenticeships as a mainstream learning option alongside going to college or university.

Key measures in the draft Bill will:

* Ensure there are enough apprenticeship places available so that all suitably qualified young people can take up their entitlement of an apprenticeship place from 2013.

* Outline the role of the new National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), which is being established to provide focused leadership for the Apprenticeships programme, to act as a one-stop shop for employers making it easier for them to offer apprenticeships.

* Under the NAS, bring together a wide range of services and operations currently dispersed among a range of agencies, operating a national apprenticeship vacancy matching service, to link potential apprentices with potential employers. This will enable employers to advertise apprenticeship vacancies through a national portal, and will help young people and adults interested in apprenticeships to understand the range and diversity of opportunities that exist, and, where appropriate, to apply for an apprenticeship online.

Skills Minister David Lammy said:

"This Bill now ensures that apprenticeships are a badge of quality, without question. Apprenticeships have been going from strength to strength, and over the past decade we have more than doubled the number of young people and adults starting apprenticeships. But we need to go further to ensure both the number and quality of apprenticeships on offer.

"Apprenticeships are valued across Britain as a means of providing employers with a well-trained workforce which helps their business succeed. But more than that, apprenticeships are about young people learning from older people, about handing knowledge on to future generations. Apprenticeships contribute significantly to businesses' bottom line. They tackle skills shortages, contributing to increased productivity, and can help businesses weather difficult economic times. Apprenticeships are an intelligent way for businesses to invest in their future, whatever the economic climate."

The Government has made a record amount of funding available for the Apprenticeships programme, which is planned to increase by almost a quarter between 2007-08 and 2010-11 to over £1 billion. Three-quarters of this planned funding will be available for 16-18 year olds. Employers can take advantage of this funding by offering apprenticeships to both young people and adults where the Government pays the full cost of an apprentice's training.

Minister for Schools and Learners Jim Knight said:

"We can't get left behind in the global skills race and must raise the number of young people in education and training. That's why we are legislating through the Education and Skills Bill to raise the participation age to 18 by 2015.

"Young people are being given more and better options than ever before post-16 and an expanded apprenticeships programme will be one of the key choices offered to them, alongside A levels and our new Diplomas. We want to increase the number of 16-18 apprenticeships available by 2013 and to ensure that from then every qualified school leaver is entitled to an apprenticeship place.

"We anticipate that around one in five of all young people will be undertaking an apprenticeship in the next decade. In the coming years, we want apprenticeships to be seen alongside university as a great option for young people who want the best jobs, the best careers and the best chance to get on - and we will only do this if they have the confidence of both learners and employees."

Ongoing work to expand and strengthen apprenticeships includes the Government making it easier for employers to improve the range of apprenticeships by enabling them to include their own accredited qualifications. The Government will soon introduce a pilot wage subsidy programme for small businesses, to make it more attractive for them to offer high quality apprenticeships.

Andy Smyth, accredited programmes manager, TUI UK and Ireland said:

"Apprenticeships have made a real impact on our business. On average, our travel and tourism apprentices stay with the company two years longer and contribute roughly 17 per cent more than other employees in similar roles.

"We intend to build on this success across other areas of our business and are looking to increase our Apprenticeship programme by up to 50 per cent over the next year."

Jo Mackie, HR Director, Superdrug, said:

"Superdrug is a people business and our success depends on the skills of our team members. They deserve the best training and development possible and we are committed to putting in place programmes like apprenticeships that will enable all colleagues to have nationally recognized qualifications in key skills as well as vocational retail beauty skills." Ministers want to expand the number of public sector apprenticeships on offer and are working with partner agencies to increase opportunities available. The Armed Forces remains the single biggest organisation offering apprenticeships (7,500 in 06/07), while 500 apprenticeships will be available within the civil service from this autumn. New public sector apprenticeships are also being developed, such as the new teaching assistant apprenticeship.

Procurement is a key lever available to the public sector in encouraging its suppliers to ensure they have appropriately skilled staff in place. As apprenticeships are an excellent tool for developing vocational skills in the workplace, the Government will strongly encourage the companies it contracts with to employ apprentices.

Earlier this week, Skills Minister David Lammy launched the London Taskforce to expand the numbers of apprenticeship places offered by London employers as a means of addressing the low numbers of apprentices in London.


1) The Government published the draft Apprenticeship Bill by command paper and written ministerial statement. For further details see There will be a twelve-week public consultation finishing on 8 October.

2) Government plans to improve the quality and expand the number and range of apprenticeships available for young people were outlined in World-class Apprenticeships, published in January 2008.

2) Demand from young people for apprenticeships is high, and the best apprenticeship schemes are over-subscribed. In 2006, there were 50,000 applications for construction industry apprenticeships but only 9,000 places. (Lords Committee on Economic Affairs, The Economic Impact of Immigration, p.30)

3) For case studies, photographs and video footage of finalists and winners of the fifth annual Apprentice Awards, held by the Learning & Skills Council on 10 July 2008, please contact Jane Parsons on 020 3300 8928 or Hill & Knowlton on 020 7413 3767.

Young Apprentice of the Year: Luke Power, Sports Management, London
Highly Commended: Rachel Freestone, Aerospace and Engineering, Coventry, West Midlands
Highly Commended: Josh Pickering, Retail, Dorset, South West
Apprentice of the Year: Claire Harrison, Pharmaceuticals, Skipton, Yorkshire & Humberside
Highly Commended: Sarah Abbott, Cookery, Gloucestershire, South West
Highly Commended: David Khan, Retail, Nottinghamshire, East Midlands
Advanced Apprentice of the Year: Rachael Hoyle, Aerospace and Engineering, Preston, North West
Highly Commended: Jacob Stimpson, Boat Building and Maintenance, Plymouth, South West
Highly Commended: Gemma Barrett, Hospitality, Mansfield, East Midlands
Personal Achiever of the Year: Victoria Snook, Hair and Beauty, Preston, North West
Highly Commended: Daisy Clark, Electrical, Cumbria, North West
Highly Commended: Mark Brookes, Teaching/Sport, Balsall Common, West Midlands

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