Sir Peter Lampl, Sutton Trust Chairman and Founder, writes to the Times following a leading article on failing apprenticeships.
Sir, You are right to highlight some of the flaws in the government’s apprenticeship programme (“Training Failing”, leading article, Jan 23). It is essential that new providers are properly inspected and the quality of apprenticeships is improved. But there are two other flaws that need to be remedied.
At present 60 per cent of apprenticeships for people under 25 take them to level 2 (roughly GCSE standard), but only a quarter of those who start a level 2 apprenticeship progress to a more demanding level 3.
If they wish to progress, they must start a new programme. Progression should be automatic if young people are to gain qualifications that offer the standard expected in apprenticeships in countries such as Germany and Switzerland.
There has also been talk of higher and degree apprenticeships offering a debt-free paid alternative to traditional university degrees. However, only 8,000 of the 30,000 of those starting each year on higher and degree-level apprenticeships in England are young people. This compares with more than 300,000 new young undergraduates annually.
If the government is serious about an apprenticeships revolution, we need better progression and more higher and degree-level apprenticeships.
Sir Peter Lampl Founder and chairman, the Sutton Trust