BCC: Apprenticeships great path for students, but system needs reform to boost numbers

Commenting on today’s A level results and the apprenticeship statistics released by the Department for Education, Jane Gratton, Head of Business Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Business people across the country will offer their sincere congratulations to all the students who received their A level results.

“Right now, UK companies are hungry for work-ready and employable staff to be part of their teams. Students and their families should remember there are many paths to success in the world of work. Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for young people to develop their skills while learning on the job, but to maximise the number of people taking advantage of this route we urgently need to see reform of the system.

“Once again, we’re seeing a disappointing number in apprenticeship starts due to the shortcomings of the Levy. It’s time to address the barriers and blockages in the system that prevent employers of all sizes from recruiting and training the next generation of apprentices.

“Employers are crying out for more skilled staff, but they can’t train apprentices if the necessary Standards are not in place or if there is no local provider to deliver the high-quality service they need.

“For smaller firms, the 10% co-investment requirement has significantly increased the cost of recruiting and training apprentices. On top of the other costs of employment – such as pension auto-enrolment and above-inflation wage increases – it is pricing people out of apprenticeship jobs and development opportunities, and needs to be scrapped urgently.

“If government, business and providers work together we can create a more flexible system and ensure far greater numbers of young people choose this path to gain the skills and experience they need to kickstart productive careers.”

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