Apprenticeships bill seeks to boost training levels

The government’s Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill has been published, representing the first complete overhaul of apprenticeship legislation for nearly 200 years.

It puts apprenticeships on a statutory basis, establishes the right to an apprenticeship place for every suitably qualified young person who wants one, and aims to ensure a good quality apprenticeship for apprentices and employers alike.

Under the terms of the Bill, employees are entitled to request training during their working lives.

Local authorities will take on responsibility for securing education and training for all 16 to 19 year olds, while the new Skills Funding Agency will oversee a new demand-led approach to education and training provision for adults, one better tailored to the needs of businesses.

John Denham, the Skills Secretary, said: “Enshrining apprenticeships in law and introducing a new right to request time to train, coupled with proposals to improve our schools will help deliver the skills in the economy we need when the upturn comes.”

The government recently committed itself to financing an extra 35,000 apprenticeship places next year, topping up the £1 billion already earmarked for apprentice training with an additional £140 million.