Dexter speaks on the panel for All change: Where next for apprenticeships?

Today (4 June 2018) I took part in a panel discussion at an event to mark the publication of a collection of essays called All change: Where next for apprenticeships? – the report is worth a read! It was held in a committee room at the House of Commons and organised by the Learning and Work Institute who compiled the report.

I was glad to see that many of the points I had either highlighted in my essay, or during the discussion, were agreed with and often expanded upon by others in the room.

The panel consisted of myself, Robert Halfon MP, Gordon Marsden MP, Jo Maher, Principal and Chief Executive of Boston College and Joe Dromey, Senior Research fellow for IPPR.

Rob Halfon said, ‘half of students in higher education should be degree apprentices.’ Whilst Gordon Marsen acknowledged that there is a need for part-time apprentinceships saying, ‘as work patterns change in the future these opportunities will become even more important.’

The event prompted some great comments from many big figures and it would be a huge challenge to summarise the whole event.

However if I were to summarise the key changes I think should be made, it would go a little like this…

1)      Careers advice needs to be inclusive of all pathways. This should provide detailed advice that breaks down the pros and cons of each pathway and accounts for the needs and skills of each student.

2)      Apprenticeships need to be available to all even in rural areas. There should be a variety of roles from level 2 to level 7. Travel costs can be expensive on an apprenticeship wage and the government should consider allocating some sort of funding to support apprentices with this expenditure. This could be done in a number of different ways, but research should take place to work out the best approach for the most amount of people.

3)      Training providers should stick to the framework and give the apprentice the skills they need to pass their apprenticeship. End assesments should be introduced to ensure students have the knowledge they should when finishing their apprenticeship.

4)      Training assesors should have both industry experience and a qualification in teaching. A new awarding body could offer this on a short course.

5)      Collaboration between both providers and employers should be better. Often employers are left unaware of how they can best help their apprentice or how to even manage their apprentice.

Overall the discussion raised many issues, however, someone in the room almost always had an idea or solution. The question now is, how do we collaborate to make sure that the UK has the best apprenticeship system in the world?