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Drive up the quality of apprenticeships

Last updated: 10:05pm 23 November 2019

…and in doing so we will drive up the quality of apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the skills employers need.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.53

Our verdict

This policy is part of the government’s broader ambition to place technical excellence on a par with academic success. The pledge sits alongside a commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020.

In 2015, the previous government laid out the plan to improve apprenticeships – English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision. From March 2017, it began providing quarterly reports on progress towards apprenticeship reform targets, based on its Benefits Realisation Strategy.

In its overall Progress report on the Apprenticeships Reform Programme in May 2018, the Department for Education detailed efforts towards improving the quality of apprenticeships:

Not all of those developments occurred under this government, but the continuing commitment to fulfilling this policy pledge is demonstrated by work outlined in the progress report.

It’s important to note, however, that the report also found:

“84% of employers were satisfied with their apprenticeship programme, compared with 87% in the 2015 survey”

With a declining percentage of employers saying apprenticeships have helped develop relevant skills, this pledge can only be ‘in progress’. To move it to ‘done’ we’ll need clear evidence of apprenticeships delivering “the skills employers need”. Follow this policy for updates.

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