The Group works to ensure that apprenticeships serve as a pathway to a career and how the apprenticeship model can meet the changing skill demands from businesses. The Group has heard from all the top apprenticeship experts, including recent Ministers for Skills, top civil servants and business groups but most importantly from apprentices themselves. In July 2018, the Group launched an Annual Report
with the following key recommendations:
- Government should ensure that the apprenticeships system – including the Apprenticeship Levy – is flexible enough to meet the changing needs of business, and allows SMEs to access the resources they need to contribute fully to the delivery of apprenticeships.
- Government should ensure that educational providers are equipped to meet the needs of a modern economy, providing programmes which are flexible and can be tailored to the requirements of apprentices and employers.
- Schools should ensure that all young people have adequate access to careers advice which explains the full range of options available, is delivered by someone with the relevant skills, and gives parity of esteem to apprenticeships.
- Government should appropriately resource schools to provide high quality careers advice and incentives to give parity of esteem to apprenticeships when advising young people.
- National and Local Government should work with employers and other organisations who work with SMEs, such as banks, to promote apprenticeships to their SME customers. Consideration should also be given to new ways of supporting the recruitment of apprentices through the pooling of available resources such as Apprenticeship Levy underspend.
- Employers should seek to provide a clear path for career progression for apprentices to ensure that an apprenticeship is an attractive choice for a sustainable career.
- More should be done to address the retention of underrepresented groups in apprenticeships, by ensuring that workplace environments are accessible throughout employment and not just at recruitment.
- National Government should work with Local and Devolved Government to ensure that the apprenticeships system is responsive to the needs of all parts of the UK but also provides consistency for employers who operate across the country.
Co-Chair: Catherine McKinnell MP Labour, Newcastle Upon Tyne North
Catherine McKinnell was elected the MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne North in 2010, following a career in employment law. She is a passionate advocate for apprenticeships. Shortly after being elected, she introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill, the Apprenticeships and Skills (Public Procurement Contracts) Bill, which called for the introduction of the requirement on public sector contracts having a firm commitment to skills training and apprenticeships. This has since become Government policy. She is currently a member of the Treasury Select Committee, which scrutinises the policy of the Department for Education, including on skills and apprenticeships.
Co-Chair Gillian Keegan MP Conservative, Chichester www.gilliankeegan.com @gilliankeegan Gillian was elected as the MP for Chichester in 2017. Having spent 25 years working and living abroad, working in the manufacturing, banking and IT industries, Gillian switched her focus to politics and was first elected as a local councillor in October 2014. In May 2015 she stood as a parliamentary candidate in St Helens South and Whiston, Merseyside, where she gained second place for the Conservatives for the first time. Gillian is particularly interested in improving career opportunities for school leavers and attracting more business investment. She is a great advocate for high quality apprenticeships, having started her career as an apprentice at Delco Electronics aged 16 – an opportunity which gave her the right start in life to go on and build a successful career.