AELP welcomes government consultation document on Richard Review
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers have responded positively to the government's consultation document released today on the Richard Review proposal for apprenticeships.
The report, The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Next Steps from the Richard Review, comes four months after the initial independent review of apprenticeships, commissioned by Doug Richard.
AELP has responded positively to the government's acceptance of several of Doug Richard's recommendations for improving the apprenticeships programme, although it argues that some of the recommendations are already in place.
The trade association is comfortable with the proposed final holistic test at the end of an apprenticeship, providing that the test is not too inflexible. It says that it is difficult to imagine a single test for some sectors that will successfully cover all the competences acquired during an apprenticeship programme and therefore some flexibility will need to be built into the test's design. Nevertheless, the association has said that it's very happy to work closely with the government and employers to try and formulate tests that work for as many sectors as possible.
Graham Hoyle, chief executive of AELP, said: "We said in our own response to the Richard Review that many of Doug Richard's recommendations made good sense and we are equally pleased that the government has observed in its consultation that there is already good practice in existence.
"The government is right to say that apprenticeships should still be available at level two, which reflects what employer customers have been telling our members. Also encouraging is the government's confirmation that it intends to introduce traineeships in the autumn to help more less qualified young people gain a place on an apprenticeship.
"AELP has previously offered the government a firm set of recommendations on raising awareness of apprenticeships among school children, one of them being a robust role for Ofsted in checking that schools are following their statutory duties on careers guidance. Much more can be done and I hope that ministers will look again at our ideas for apprenticeships to be championed in secondary schools. They will help the government achieve the Prime Minister's stated goal as an apprenticeship being seen as 'the new normal'."
Martyn Sloman, principal consultant at TJ, described the government response as a "mixed bag" but is hopeful for the future.
"The government has accepted that apprenticeships should be redefined so that they are targeted at those new looking for a new job or role and those jobs should require sustained and substantial training. Training and accreditation of those fully competent in their jobs should be delivered separately," he said.
"Hopefully this will deal with what has become known as the problem of conversions - accrediting existing staff with existing skills and calling them apprentices. Encouragingly, the government has also committed to introduce a new scheme of traineeships for those who are not ready to embark on apprenticeships - more details are to follow.
"However, the commitment to give employers greater ownership and allow them to more flexible in the creation of apprenticeship programmes in their organisations is questionable. It is hard to see how this can work in practice without diluting the quality of the apprenticeships brand and causing further confusion - definitely a mixed bag in my view."