Earlier this month the latest Apprenticeship Review got underway, completing the trio of reviews announced late last year.
We’ve had the Holt Review, which has been looking at how best to engage SMEs in apprenticeship activity and is due to report shortly. We’ve had the Select Committee Inquiry looking at a whole range of issues, which will also report back shortly. Lastly we have the Richard Review, which will be more forward-looking.
We also shouldn’t forget the regular quality review activity undertaken by the National Apprenticeship Service, let alone respective reports on aspects of the system by the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee respectively, all in the last few months.
Why so many reviews and reports?
Arguably, there are two reasons: quantity and quality.
Quantity, because the government has prioritised the work-based route and set specific targets for it. It therefore needs a fully functioning system to be able to deliver growth, targeted for adult apprenticeships at least in the region of 110% over the lifetime of this Parliament.
Quality, because with growth of this magnitude, quality issues are paramount. The Minister explained in his recent appearance before the Select Committee that he intends to take a strong line on quality, hence the flurry of announcements over the last few months on such matters as minimum durations, sub-contracting arrangements and escalation procedures.
Where does this latest review fit in?
This review will be more of a look to the future than a review of what has happened in the past. “The purpose of the Richard Review is to take a medium- to long-term look at the future of apprenticeships in England.” As such it will consider, for instance, changing needs, best practice and investment requirements.
The aim is not to spend a great deal of time trying to redesign the system, but rather to look at what’s needed going forward. As such it will build on previous reviews, but also take into account a wide range of other evidence as well.
When will the Review report back?
Before the end of the year, most likely in October/November 2012.
Head of Policy (UK and International)
Pearson Think Tank
Disclaimer: The Pocket Watch information above is intended to provide a quick, informal update on national developments. Information is correct at the time of writing and is offered in good faith. No liability is accepted for decisions made on the basis of information given. Latest Apprenticeship Review June 2012.