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Ex-National Apprenticeship Service chief criticises government’s plans

Ex-National Apprenticeship Service chief criticises government’s plans

The former chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service is calling for a greater focus on the quality of apprenticeships as well as quantity.

Professor David Way, who was at the heart of designing, establishing and running the National Apprenticeship Service between 2009 and 2013, has added his voice to the concerns over the state of UK apprenticeships.

The government’s plans for the apprentice sector have been greatly scrutinised with many critics citing too much attention being paid to the number and not enough on the quality of schemes.

 Focus on change, not just numbers

“Whilst the ambition to achieve three million more apprenticeships by 2020 has created a positive culture, the numerical target itself is not sufficient,” Prof Way said.

“Success means ensuring that we are producing quality apprentices who are addressing skills shortages and helping drive productivity improvements. It also means far more young people benefiting from the great start to their working lives that apprenticeships can provide.

“So the focus must be on transformational change for employers and young people, not just on the number,” he added.

Prof Way has taken a hard look at the government’s target in his new book which is published on 29 September.

A Race to the Top: Achieving Three Million More Apprentices by 2020 features contributions from some of the leading thinkers on apprentices and further education, drawn from business and academia.

Insights from senior figures at BT Group, Barclays, National Grid, Lloyds Banking Group, PwC, Siemens, TUI, EDF Energy and United Utilities sit alongside comment from leaders past and present at the CBI, British Chambers of Commerce and TUC.

Leading academics from the University of Winchester have also authored chapters – Professor David Birks, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Sport with Stella McKnight, Director of Employer Partnerships at Winchester Business School; and Professor Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning. In all, 39 contributors worked on the book.

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