EAL defends apprenticeships for over-25s
EAL has defended the importance of apprenticeships for over-25s, in response to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report on apprenticeship policy in the UK.Ann Watson, managing director at EAL, said, ‘Rigorous, high quality adult apprenticeships have a valuable place in industry, preparing and equipping new entrants – often people who have been made redundant from other sectors – to enter productive and fulfilling employment.
‘Many of the preparatory skills that the IPPR report suggests apprenticeships should offer to young people are equally as important to people entering the workplace after a period of unemployment – especially for those who are making a complete change in career.
‘Of course, the report rightly raises the issue of protecting the apprenticeship ‘brand’ and maintaining the quality of provision but this should be equally as integral for all apprentices, no matter of age. And the report mentions apprenticeships for older workers offer a poor return for government, but the critical factor here is the return for UK industry, employers and the apprentices themselves.
‘We share the view of John Hayes MP, who said in the report: ‘For practical learning no longer to be seen as the poor relation of academic study, its inherent value must be acknowledged.’ To ensure this value is maintained, questions need to be asked to ensure investment is properly targeted to meet industry needs, and that in the eagerness to increase numbers, the apprenticeship brand isn’t damaged.
‘Apprenticeships are about providing a sustained and rigorous period of training and assessment – allowing people to develop high levels of specialist knowledge and technical skills. Apprenticeship funding needs to be routed correctly – so that as well as creating new jobs for young people, it is up-skilling adult workers and putting them on the path to achieving sustainable and fulfilling employment.’