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Tackle ‘Mickey Mouse apprenticeships’ before they damage vocational education

Category: In the News
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Josie Gurney-Read mentioned our Levels of Success research in a Telegraph analysis of apprenticeships.

The Government’s announcement in 2014 of their intention to create three million more apprenticeships by 2020, was – as expected – both welcomed and challenged across the education and business sectors.

Sceptics questioned how such ambitious plans could be implemented without forfeiting both quality within the qualifications or the budgets for the training of current employees.

So far, the number of apprenticeships has increased to 374,200 this year, a rise of 59,600 from last year: still a long way off the target. But it seems that, at the moment anyway, the figure of three million is of small concern compared with the worrying standards that are coming to light in some apprenticeships.


It’s not all doom and gloom. I thoroughly support this renewed focus on apprenticeships and the drive to improve the partnership between business and education. And, in some cases, some positive findings are coming to light.

A recent report by the Sutton Trust found that apprentices with a level 5 qualification – a Higher Apprenticeship – will earn £50,000 more in their lifetime than someone with an undergraduate degree from a university outside the Russell Group.

However, the report also found that 60 per cent of apprenticeships are set at GCSE standard (level 2) and “too many of these offer little value beyond traditional work experience placements and only marginally better lifetime earnings than secondary school qualifications.”

Read her full piece here.