Chancellor George Osborne’s pledge this week to support adult apprentices has been welcomed but one commentator warns that employers need to be supported to take them on.
Osborne delivered his comprehensive spending review on 20 October, announcing that spending on adult apprenticeships will increase £250m a year, providing 75,000 apprenticeship places every year by the end of 2014-15.
‘I was delighted to hear the chancellor announce his commitment to a 50 per cent increase in the number of adult training places,’ said Ann Watson, managing director of EAL (EMTA Awards). ‘But before they release information on how this will take effect, I urge the government to keep sight of industry and ensure additional training offers learners the chance to obtain the higher-level skills that will help them, and industry, to take the economy forward. Employers need to be supported to take them on and therefore they need to clearly demonstrate their value.’
Watson added: ‘Before the government considers making employers pay more to take on apprentices – a key focus of its consultation on skills – it should listen to the needs of our sector; science, engineering and manufacturing are strategic industries and are key to the future prosperity of our country.
‘Employers in these sectors already cover substantial “on-the-job” costs when training and need to feel supported to take on apprentices, not financially penalised. If the government doesn’t rethink this policy, it could seriously harm the future of advanced apprenticeships and industries that rely on them.’