Don't change the system

24 January 2014
Don't change the system

The government's planned funding changes for apprenticeships will lead to a significant drop in formal training, says HIT Training chairman John Hyde

The government's decision to change apprenticeship funding is a well-intentioned but misguided action that risks derailing vocational skills training and leaving the country without a skilled workforce.

Under the new system, the employer will have to assume responsibility for the burden of bureaucracy necessary to claim public funding. This replaces the current system of paying training providers and further education colleges directly.

The Richard Review of Apprenticeships ignores three simple facts that have contributed to the success of the current system. First, employers have the option for direct payments, yet less than 10% choose to do so. The government seems to be unaware of, or ignores, the process by which employers engage with apprenticeship programmes.

Third, the new system may appeal to large employers who can take responsibility for their own apprenticeship programme, but it will disenfranchise small employers. It is unlikely that an employer with three or fewer apprentices will have the inclination or time to run an apprenticeship programme. We 
predict an 80% decline in apprenticeship numbers if these changes are implemented.

Unless apprenticeship programmes are run by professional training providers with
a proven track record, completion rates are highly likely to decrease. All colleges and private providers strive to achieve the highest rates of qualified apprentices as this maximises satisfaction rates from both employers and apprentices, and is an excellent reference when marketing to new employers.

We passionately believe that if the proposed funding reforms are implemented, hospitality apprenticeship numbers will radically decline. There is a real risk that apprenticeships will be in the domain of large employers - mainly in the manufacturing sector. We struggle to see how the prime minister's promise - that all school leavers who don't go to university would be offered an apprenticeship place - can be met under these proposed changes.

Do you agree or disagree with john hyde? Let us know at

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