Young people risk being locked into disadvantage, report warns

School leavers may not be able to undertake apprenticeships in the future because of Government reforms, a report has warned.

The effect of changes to the funding and academic standards of apprenticeships has the potential to lock many young people permanently into unqualified jobs or no job at all, the report has said.
The research, from Brendan Nevin at North Housing Consulting, was commissioned by The Aspire Group and sponsored by Social Enterprise UK.

Aspire’s subsidiary social enterprise PM Training specialises in providing apprenticeships to young people who leave school with low levels of academic qualifications and who often come from economically deprived backgrounds.

The research has been published to support Aspire’s lobbying of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills over apprenticeships and to coincide with Aspire’s submission to the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into apprenticeships this autumn.

Will Nixon, deputy chief executive of the Aspire Group, said: “This research shows that training providers like us who provide opportunities and jobs to unqualified young people are at risk of no longer being able to provide apprenticeships.

“If significant numbers of young people are unable to train as apprentices and if businesses will no longer employ apprenticeships, what will happen to those young people?“

They will risk being ‘not in employment, education or training’ for ever, or never having the opportunity to earn a decent wage in a qualified job.

”The research is being presented to Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the House of Commons Education Select Committee’s inquiry into apprenticeships, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Local Enterprise Partnership and national bodies for housing and training.

Its key points include:
• Making GCSE English and maths A*-C a requirement for apprenticeship qualification risks condemning would-be apprentices who cannot achieve this to failure

• The planned move to payment for apprenticeship training by the employer risks small and medium sized businesses responding by simply not taking on apprentices

The report recommends:•

Creating a social inclusion fund to pay for apprenticeship training for those ‘not in employment, education or training’

• Providing choice to employers about how they pay for their apprentices’ training

• Retaining level 2 apprenticeships and flexibility in achieving GCSE English and maths A*-C

One former PM Training apprentice highlighted as an example of someone who might never have qualified is 21-year-old Steven Ellis, of Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent.

He came to PM Training with no GCSEs at all after being in trouble at school and having family difficulties at home.

He went on to achieve both level 2 and 3 apprenticeships in landscape gardening and in 2012 he won the Youthbuild UK Awards and WorldSkills UK gold award for landscaping. He now runs his own landscape gardening business with his brother Richard.

Steven said: “PM Training has got me to where I am now. I left school with nothing but now I’m running my own business and things are going well.”