Commenting on the report
published by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) which calls for urgent apprenticeship reform to improve prospects for disadvantaged young people in the wake of the pandemic, Anne Murdoch, college leadership adviser at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“As this research shows, opportunities for apprenticeships were already in decline before the pandemic struck, and the events of the past year have made matters worse.
“We have heard from our college members that large numbers of apprentices were furloughed or made redundant, and that small and medium-sized businesses could barely afford to keep long-standing and experienced staff, let alone offer new apprenticeship vacancies to young people who need a lot of training and support when entering the workplace.
“The focus on higher level skills in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill makes it imperative that the government takes the findings from the NFER seriously because the young people referred to in this report are the future higher level skills apprentices. It would be a travesty if the opportunity to improve the lot of young people, and especially those who are disadvantaged, is lost amongst the rhetoric of local skills plans.
“We welcome the NFER’s research, and support the suggestion that small and medium-sized businesses need to be better funded to offer apprenticeships for young people.”