“Too many apprentices still do not receive sufficiently high-quality training.” This is the clear message coming out of Ofsted’s survey into the current frameworks of apprenticeships.
According to the critical report, Ofsted inspectors found that in a third of the providers visited, apprenticeships did not provide sufficient high-quality training; long-term value to individual companies was not added; skills shortages were not tackled sufficiently; collaboration between providers and employers was lacking; English and maths skills were poorly developed; too few 16 to 18 year olds were starting apprenticeships (blamed on poor promotion in schools); and progression through the apprenticeship route was weak.
Some low-level, low-quality apprenticeships were “wasting public funds” with some learners unaware that they were even on an apprenticeship.
It was not all bad news. There was evidence of high-quality apprenticeships but these were typically found in industries that have a long-established reliance on employing apprentices to develop their future workforce such as motor vehicle, construction and engineering industries.
To tackle the long list of failings in the report, its recommendations focus on raising the quality and profile of apprenticeships and not just on increasing the numbers: