Apprenticeships: Quality or Quantity?

Crescens George - Chartered FCIPD

For Apprentices and Apprenticeship providers, the news that made October memorable was the statements of Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted Chief. He stated, ahead of the Ofsted report on October 18th, that there are too many poor quality apprenticeships and that they are devaluing the scheme at a time when other academic standards are being raised. The guilty industries he called out were retail and care, as they are providing apprenticeships that Sir Michael equates to ‘coffee making’ because they are not giving apprentices employable skills.

With the Government's plans to raise the number of apprenticeships in the UK to 3 million over the next few years there is, according to the Sir. Michael’s comments, a real reason for concern. If 872,000 apprenticeships have already been discredited then this poses serious problems with the government's proposed increases. Most media outlets point to manufacturing as being one of the industries most in need of apprentices, but what is insurance as an industry doing?

October 2015's issue of Insurance People stated "Insurance has always thrived on turning ambitious school leavers into specialised talents, and today's roles need a great deal more humanity than just a string of letters attached to your name." If this is true then why is the industry not doing more? There is clearly a need to put young people to work, and the sheer number of apprentices currently working in the UK shows that there is an abundance of young talent. With this in mind it is fair to say that it is not enough for an insurance company or broker with thousands of employees to take on a dozen or so apprentices and say that they have done their part.

Sir Michael also stated that putting employers in the driver's seat has

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