Driving the quality of apprenticeship in England

Apprenticeships can change lives. We know 90% of apprentices go on to a job or further education. Apprenticeships offer a ladder of opportunity for people of all ages; they boost businesses and make a profound difference to the economic stability and productivity of this country.

That’s why, continuing the ambitious agenda of skills reform, the government has established a new independent, public body to make sure apprenticeships are of the highest quality they can be. Supporting the plan to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, the Institute for Apprenticeships (the Institute) is now giving employers a stronger role in the leadership of the apprenticeship system, ensuring employees get the skills they need to succeed and the best apprenticeship possible.

Why an Institute for Apprenticeships? For too long this country has under-invested in skills and subsequently we’ve lost the support, and the confidence, of employers and apprentices along the way.

This time, it’s different. This time, we have the funding in place, a broad agenda of skills-reform offering the opportunity to achieve comprehensive and coherent change, and employers embedded within the decision-making structure of the Institute.

The Institute is developing and maintaining apprenticeship standards and assessment plans and will review and approve them. It will maintain a public database of these standards and give advice on government funding as well as having a role in quality assurance. And the government’s ambitious plans include expanding the Institute’s remit to encompass technical education in England from 2018 – as set out in the Post-16 Skills Plan.

The Institute’s aims and approach to improving quality are outlined in this document. We believe these are straightforward, direct and powerful, but the mechanisms for their delivery can be complex. We do not underestimate the work ahead and there’s a lot more we need to do to deliver. This is just the beginning.

Employers are central to everything we are doing; they know what they want their employees to learn, and the skills that really drive productivity for their industry.

Apprenticeships are something we all care passionately about – as a powerful driver for social mobility and the engine of a future skills workforce that is robust and returns on investment for employers and apprentices alike. We are in an age in which the economy is changing at a great pace. Technology is a very significant driver of change and there are great challenges ahead. The Institute is an ongoing project that will require sustained commitment over many years – but the potential benefits and opportunities for the future are tremendous.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revolutionise the apprenticeship and technical education landscape, commit to supporting fundamental, long-term social mobility and cement the reputation of an Institute that will have credibility and longevity. You can read the full document here