Employers to design own apprenticeship schemes

Employers will be able to design and develop their own apprenticeship standards and qualifications, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced.

The decision follows last year's review by entrepreneur Doug Richard, which found apprenticeships should be more focused on the needs of employers in order to encourage take-up, address skill shortages and boost growth.

Nick Clegg said that apprenticeships were 'at the heart' of the Government's drive for a stronger economy.

"Most employers say that apprentices improve productivity," he said.

"So it's vital that Apprenticeships are tailored around what employers want, allowing them to design their own qualifications and choose their own training provider, rather than getting a one-size-fits-all programme that's bad for apprentices and bad for employers."

Government plans include:

  • employers setting industry standards for apprenticeships
  • incorporating English and maths GCSE qualifications into apprenticeships from August 2014
  • targeting each apprenticeship at a specific 'skilled job' involving substantial new learning and setting career progression for apprentices
  • creating a more 'outcome' focused approach towards what apprentices should know and be able to do at the end of their contract.

'Misperceptions' about apprenticeships

A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey found almost half of parents view apprenticeships as most appropriate for manual or 'blue-collar' jobs. Less than a fifth think that apprenticeships have the same status as a university education.

Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, said apprenticeships benefited both young people and employers.

"But this new research shows that misperceptions about apprenticeships prevail, which is likely to impact the supply of potential candidates for employers that do offer apprenticeships and deter those that don't from adapting their recruitment methods."