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Focus on apprenticeship quality, urges City & Guilds

Business, government and further education providers need to focus on the quality of apprenticeships in order to address skills shortages, according to a City & Guilds report.

The report, Remaking Apprenticeships, says that although the number of apprenticeships in the UK is growing rapidly, they are not necessarily meeting the needs of businesses.

It says that although the 2012 Richard Review addressed structural issues and offered frameworks, it did not address the quality of apprenticeships. City & Guilds wants to see a focus on learning, which will make apprenticeships equal in status to other learning routes.

It concludes that business, government and providers need to work together to do the following:

  • Remake apprenticeships by focusing on the quality of teaching and learning methods;
  • Facilitate a debate about the pedagogy of apprenticeships, and identify what the best learning methods are;
  • Provide accessible guidance for employers and providers about the pedagogy of apprenticeships;
  • Explore ways of embedding an emphasis on learning into the documentation of apprenticeships; and
  • Lead an international debate about apprenticeship learning

City & Guilds UK MD Kirstie Donnelly said although the UK economy rests on its ability to meet the skills needs of industry, businesses’ approach to apprenticeships shouldn't be a “numbers game” but instead must focus on quality.

She added: “We firmly believe now is the time to remake apprenticeships. If we take the right approach and embed learning and assessment at the heart of an apprenticeship, as well as ensure they are designed to meet employers’ needs, we can ensure the UK’s apprenticeship system can compete with the very best on the world stage.”

Chief executive at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers Stewart Segal said: “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.”