Are higher-level apprenticeships going to better-off apprentices?

What the new Department of Education statistics tell us

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This morning the Department for Education (DfE) published figures on the number of apprenticeships that were started in July 2019 – the final month of the 2018/19 academic year. And although the numbers are still provisional, they provide us with a pretty clear picture of how things shaped up for the apprenticeships sector. The big … Continued

What do the latest apprenticeship figures tell us?

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This August, as always, brought a host of headlines on academic results: from A level triumphs to parents’ confusion with the new(ish) GCSE marking system. Rather less attention, as always, was paid to students who pursued qualifications and pathways outside the traditional GCSE-to-A level-to-university route. For instance, apprenticeships, where young people can – in theory … Continued

Taking stock of skills and education in Brexit Britain

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The skills and qualifications held by the British workforce have come under increased scrutiny lately, tied as they are to the Brexit-related migration debate. Some have argued that ‘turning off the tap’ of migrant labour will cause immediate, and substantial, recruitment difficulties for firms. Others maintain that reduced levels of migration could compel educators and … Continued

Apprenticeships have a starring role in the government’s technical education reforms. But are they delivering?

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Rarely a headline-grabber in the broadsheets (or indeed, the tabloids), yesterday’s speech on technical education by the Education Secretary offered a welcome respite from the mind-numbing livestream of Brexit-related updates. The central premise of Damian Hinds’ speech – that the UK’s technical education system should offer young people clear routes into specialist, well-paid careers – … Continued

Apprenticeship starts increased in July – but the overall forecast isn’t so sunny

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Although the UK enjoyed some glorious weather this month, the Met Office recently predicted cooler temperatures and gloomy skies in the immediate days ahead. Given the time of year, this isn’t all that surprising, but deep down you can’t help but be disappointed: the dullness of dreary weather can cause days to blend into each … Continued

Alternative paths to success? The jobs landscape facing young non-graduates today

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From photos of jumping A level students to guides to freshers’ week, at this time of year it can feel like university is the only route taken by teenagers. But in fact, fewer than half of young people follow this seemingly well-trodden path at 18. And, as this morning’s ONS publication about non-graduates’ employment patterns … Continued

The apprenticeship levy a year on: lessons learned

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This piece originally appeared on tes. With today’s headlines focused on the trials and tribulations of A-level results and university acceptances, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a majority of today’s 18-year-olds proceed directly from the school gates into the halls of higher education. Of course, they do not: over half of today’s 19-year-olds are engaged … Continued

Employers are offering a growing ‘disloyalty bonus’ – young people should take advantage

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This piece was first published on i.  First they took away the long-service awards: carriage clocks and gold watches; now they’re coming for your pay rises; loyalty no longer pays in UK firms. That’s the big takeaway from new Resolution Foundation research looking at what’s happening in the jobs market. In the late 1990s if … Continued

The story of recent apprenticeship reforms so far: a fall in quantity, but an increase in quality

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Before long the apprenticeship levy – the focus of much of the debate around post-16 education – will be a year old. Yet there’s more to the apprenticeships story than the levy. Since last April, all apprentices are required to spend at least 20 per cent of their time on off-the-job training and they must … Continued

The latest data on Apprenticeship starts offers cause for hope and concern

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This morning the Department for Education published figures outlining the number and type of apprenticeships that were commenced during the first quarter (August to October) of the 2017-18 academic year – the second quarter since the apprenticeship levy came into place last Spring.  Inevitably, much of the focus today will be on numbers: how the … Continued

Britain’s skills record has hindered, not helped, our productivity drive. That needs to change

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Over the last week, we’ve heard a lot about the need to boost Britain’s productivity and how education and training can support that drive. First we had welcome new funding commitments in the Budget, then a strong skills focus in the Industrial Strategy White Paper and today we have a Skills Summit. Throughout, the Government … Continued

Is the big fall in Apprenticeship starts a blip, or a sign of things to come?

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Since the implementation of the apprenticeship levy in May of this year, many have wondered how a shift in funding – with large employers in England being required to put 0.5% of their wage bill into an apprenticeship account – would affect the number and type of apprenticeships on offer. Today, we have first sight … Continued

Today’s exam question: how do we remedy the growing skills divide?

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Amid the annual excitement of A-Level and GCSE results days, young people and their parents understandably pore over the exam marks that show the qualifications they have gained. But alongside celebrating individuals progress, it’s worth stepping back to consider the bigger picture of increasing qualifications for the UK as a whole, and what this means … Continued

Five tests on which to judge the success of apprenticeships

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A few weeks ago, we wrote about the importance of paying attention to apprenticeship figures. And now we’ve had two days of debate and disagreement around apprenticeship figures, in particular how much they’re paid. So what’s been happening of late? In short, apprenticeship participation is up, and at higher levels of study. But we’re concerned … Continued

Apprenticeship participation reaches a record high – but wider adult education and training continues to decline

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Figures on apprenticeships and further education are unlikely to garner front-page headlines, particularly amidst the wider political turmoil and the commencement of Brexit negotiations. But the figures do matter. Skills and education can help to explain how we got here in the first place: lower levels of education, a sense of alienation and a feeling … Continued

Can a new generation of political leaders tackle Britain’s regional inequalities?

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2017 will see the UK begin its departure from the European Union. However, as the UK seeks to shed some politicians in Brussels, we will be getting some new ones at home. Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Tees, West Midlands, Bristol and Bath, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will all go to the polls to elect mayors and … Continued

Hollowing out – deeper than it sounds

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It’s rare that technical economic concepts make their way out of the halls of academia and into the mainstream. Yet the idea that labour markets in advanced economies are increasingly ‘polarising’ between ‘lovely’ and ‘lousy’ jobs – with middle-of-the-road jobs being ‘hollowed out’ and wage inequality rising as a result – is one that has … Continued

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