Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report on apprenticeships.

‘A Government levy aimed at helping to create three million apprenticeships risks being poor value for money and could damage the public sector, a new report warns.

A study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that most of the £2.8 billion due to be raised in England by 2020 will not be spent on apprenticeships.

Government spending is only expected to increase by £640 million, said the report, adding there was a risk that the apprentice brand was becoming another term for training.

The target of 600,000 new places every year in this Parliament, a 20% rise on the 2014/15 total, risks increasing quantity over quality, the report added.’ -

‘Report co-author Neil Amin-Smith says there is a "desperate need" for better vocational training - and the government's industrial strategy has emphasised the need to improve technical education.

But the report warns the government has "failed to make a convincing case for such a large and rapid expansion in apprenticeships" and warns of "wildly optimistic" claims for how much extra earnings could be generated by the investment in apprentices.’ - BBC News

‘In the analysis, the IFS also warns that the way apprenticeship funding will now be structured means employers will have to pay nothing, or a maximum of 10 per cent, of the training cost of apprentices, and this poses considerable risks to the efficient use of public money. The large expansion required to meet the government’s 3 million apprenticeships target also risks increasing quantity at the expense of quality, the researchers conclude.

The institute says that while there might be a strong case for expanding apprenticeships, the government has “failed to make it”. “There has not been the collapse in training by employers that the government claims and the returns to public investment in apprenticeships are not nearly as high as the government suggests,” it says. “There is a good case for expanding apprenticeships, but perhaps more gradually and where we can ensure high-quality provision.”

The report concludes: “We need to move away from arbitrary targets and across-the-board 100 per cent funding to a more gradual expansion, a stronger focus on quality, and a policy designed to maximise impact rather than numbers.”’ - TES

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