New inquiry into the quality of apprenticeships

An inquiry into the quality of apprenticeships and skills training has been launched by the Education Select Committee.

The inquiry, launched today (Thursday), will cover apprenticeships and skills training across different sectors, including childcare.

It will examine whether employers, learners and tax payers are getting sufficient value for the time and money invested in training, and whether more needs to be done to detect poor-quality provision.

Also, up for scrutiny will be the barriers to the socially disadvantaged accessing skills training and how Government funding could be used to remove these.

The Committee says that while many independent training providers and further education colleges are providing excellent training, too much provision is poor.

In August, the Department for Education withdrew funding from Learndirect, the biggest provider of childcare apprenticeships, after it was found to be inadequate by Ofsted.

As part of the inquiry, the Committee is inviting written submissions on the following issues:

  • The quality of current provision, how this varies by sector, level and region, and the impact of this on learner outcomes;
  • The effectiveness of the quality monitoring system, in particular the role and capacity of Ofsted;
  • The role of the Education and Skills Funding Agency in ensuring value for money, and the impact of different funding models;
  • Quality and oversight of training provided by subcontractors;
  • The quality of training received by the socially disadvantaged and barriers to them undertaking this training.

Launching the inquiry at The Skills Show in Birmingham, Education Select Committee chair Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, said, ‘Social justice and productivity is at the heart of the work of the Committee and high-quality apprenticeships and skills training should play a key part in helping people climb the ladder of opportunity.

‘Encouraging more people to pursue training is vital to the future health of our economy, but too much of what is on offer does not live up to the standards that people deserve and will do little to boost our productivity. I am particularly concerned about the quality of training provided by some subcontractors.

‘Through this inquiry we will examine not only the quality of training but also how effective the current monitoring system is at rooting out those courses which are not up to scratch.

‘We will also be looking at how Government funding should be distributed to ensure we’re filling skills gaps, rewarding great providers and punishing poor ones.

‘Finally, amid worrying reports that pursuing apprenticeships and other forms of training is prohibitively expensive for some, we will be looking at what can be done to ensure that they are truly open to everyone, regardless of background.’

  • The deadline for written submission is 5 January 2018. To send a submission click here

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