National Audit Office
London: TSO, 2012 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/12; HC 1787)
The report finds that between the academic years of 2006-07 and 2010-11 the Apprenticeship Programme expanded by 140%. Apprentices aged over 25 account for nearly half of this figure. Most of the increase in the programme has been in just 10 apprenticeship occupations. Apprentices and inspectors are generally positive about the quality of apprenticeships, with 91% of apprentices satisfied with their training; but the rapid expansion of the programme brings risks that need to be managed. One concern is that in 2010-11, 19% (34,600) of apprenticeships lasted less than six months, when most are expected to last at least a year. Advanced apprenticeships yield higher returns than intermediate apprenticeships: spending on adult apprenticeships overall could be producing an economic return of £18 for every £1 of public spending. Most apprenticeships in England, though, are at a lower level than those offered by other countries. The Apprenticeship Programme is well coordinated and is better managed than a previous government programme, Train to Gain, thanks to maintenance of a central register of approved providers, with a single national contract and account manager for each. However, the rates paid to training providers by the Skills Funding Agency are not based on sufficiently robust information on the cost of the training provision, and so the Agency and National Apprenticeship Service do not know the extent to which providers may be earning surpluses or incurring losses on some types of apprenticeship. Furthermore, some employers are not paying the expected contribution towards training providers' costs.
J. Canduela and others
Work, Employment and Society, vol. 26, 2012, p.42-60
The Labour governments of 1997-2010 were committed to encouraging older workers to stay and train in the workplace. An 'active ageing' agenda was justified given evidence of inequalities in access to training, with low-skilled older workers among those least likely to participate, as evidenced by Taylor and Urwin's 2001 analysis of 1997 Labour Force Survey (LFS) data. This article has used LFS data from 2007 to identify continuing inequalities in participation in training and to re-assess the position of older workers. Results showed that men over 50 remained significantly less likely to be offered training by employers.
Children and Young People Now, Mar. 6th-19th 2012, p. 14-15
At least 55,000 16- and 17-year-olds will be targeted under a new Coalition government scheme to improve the prospects of young people not in education, employment or training. The scheme forms part of the Youth Contract and will see as much as £126m paid to organisations in England that successfully support disengaged young people of school leaving age into education or training. Providers will be paid up to £2,200 for each young person in three stages. An initial sum of £440 will be paid once an action plan has been drawn up, then a maximum of £660 will follow once the young person is engaged in education or training, with the remainder being paid if the young person remains there.