Apprenticeships aim for gold standard

The Bolton News: Apprenticeships are more popular than ever Apprenticeships are more popular than ever

MORE people than ever before are taking part in an apprenticeship, according to published figures.

Nearly 870,000 people were on an apprenticeship from 2012 to 2013 with the gold standard of higher and advanced levels attracting record levels of apprentices. The data shows that there were more than 1.5 million apprenticeship starts since 2010 – half a million of these were in 2012/13.

Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock said: “I am pleased to see that there were 13,000 people in higher apprenticeships last year, which is double the previous year’s figure.

“This is good news for the economy and good news for those getting the skills they need to prosper.

“I want the new norm for people leaving school or college to either go to university or choose an apprenticeship.

“By focusing on the quality and rigour that people and employers want from apprenticeships, this will make the vision a reality.”

Higher apprenticeships introduced by the Government are now at their highest level, but participation for under-19s has declined due to the renewed focus on higher quality.

All apprenticeships now involve a job and, as such, some low quality provision was ended which has particularly affected apprenticeships for 16 to 18-year-olds, because programme-led apprenticeships were concentrated in that age range.

Further reforms will see apprenticeships designed to respond to the needs of industry, meaning each apprentice has the skills required by the sector. This will focus on quality, so the apprentice has to demonstrate their ability through rigorous assessment at the end of their apprenticeship.

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