Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Well, to coin a phrase, "they would say that, wouldn't they" ...

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched a Consultation on funding reform for apprenticeships in England today.

It proposes using HMRC’s PAYE system to fund employers’ apprenticeship programmes.

The consultation is published in response to Doug Richard’s independent ‘Review of Apprenticeships’, which looked at how apprenticeships in England can meet the needs of the changing economy. It addresses Doug Richard’s recommendations for reforming the way Apprenticeships are funded. Richard said apprenticeships should be more firmly in the hands of employers and ensure that all apprenticeships are rigorous and responsive to employers’ needs.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)) said that such a system will come with as many potential downsides as it will with benefits.

"Over 70% of the Work Programme prime contractors are AELP members with many other members delivering the programme as sub-contractors. AELP providers currently engage with almost 300,000 employers across the country and last year they helped 117,240 learners complete an apprenticeship."

9 comments:

The Stigler said...

What almost no-one grasps about the success of apprenticeships (and this is from around the 13th century until relatively recently) is the fact that the employee was indentured.

You worked somewhere, they trained you in a craft, you earnt almost nothing, but for a time afterwards (perhaps a few years), you were expected to work for them.

Without that, you have a tragedy of the commons situation. No-one wants to train people who will leave soon after getting trained to go to employers that can pay higher salaries (because they're not paying for training).

The solution we've found is graduates. So, instead of kids working for someone, learning how to develop software in a practical way, and earning a little in exchange for 3 or 4 years of indenture, we now indenture them for 3 years, with no salary, a mountain of debt and no practical experience.

Bob E said...

TS - "You worked somewhere, they trained you in a craft, you earnt almost nothing, but for a time afterwards (perhaps a few years), you were expected to work for them" ... "No-one wants to train people who will leave soon after getting trained to go to employers that can pay higher salaries"

And yet, under Iain Duncan Smith's "Universal Credit Claimant Commitment" the pressure to "go get a better paying job" may well come from the DWP, who might not take "but I'm staying where I am as my way of repaying these guys for having trained me up" as a good enough excuse, so we can but hope that the DWP and the BIS will get together and make sure that some "joined up government" operates and the BIS efforts to improve the number and quality of apprenticeships isn't scuppered by the DWP frantically trying to deliver all the "savings" that UC will, IDS has promised, "deliver" (although under the new guidance on "what unacceptable Whitehallese is" one assumes they are desperately scabbling around for an alternative to "deliver").

James Higham said...

The consultation is published in response to Doug Richard’s independent ‘Review of Apprenticeships’, which looked at how apprenticeships in England can meet the needs of the changing economy.

And they wait till now?

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, ah yes, but it's a question of degree.

If you do an apprenticeship in two years and learn stuff which you could have crammed into six months, then three quarters of the time, you are doing proper productive work for very little pay.

That's how the employer gets his money back. He doesn't need an extra period after you have finished your apprenticeship.

What is not clear to me is why apprenticeships withered on the vine. I vaguely remember that Thatcher was to blame.

Kj said...

TS, MW. I know quite a few that "graduated" as apprentices, it's still relatively common in northern europe. On paper, it's doing regular work 50% of the time, and getting instructions 50% of the time. They get half the normal salary, and the employer gets a grant for having them as recognized apprentices, and there is a report requirement and test in the end.
I think it's fair enough that as long as we have subsidised higher ed, one might as well subsidise a structured apprenticeship, as an incentive for the employer, that largely solves the tragedy of the commons problem, if the reduced pay isn't enough. I'm certain that traineeships/apprenticeships could provide much better training for lots of people who currently do medicre college degrees.
AFAIK, in some states in the US, you still have apprenticeship avenues for lawyers.

Kj said...

btw in reality it's doing regular work most of the time, from what I've heard. All in all a fairly good deal for the company.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, Kj, as it happens, I did an 'apprenticeship' in Germany as a bookkeeper-accountant-tax return preparer.

It was 1 day a week in college (paid for by the government, presumably) to learn stuff, at work it was maybe a couple of hours "on the job training" but mostly it was doing the same work as everybody else.

It took me just under two years to finish (I got a shortened period on grounds of old age, I was 23 when I started) and got paid DM 700 a month (= about £70 a week in old money) and that all worked out just fine. My final grade was 1.6.

It seems a perfectly sensible system to me and my employer got as much out of it as I did. When I finished, my boss quadrupled my salary and I stayed there for another two or three years.

Kj said...

MW: that's excellent. Germany is even better at these things, none of the "professional" type jobs is done as apprenticeships here, only "trades" (mechanic, electrician, etc.). I presume you didn't have to wear the funny costume and hats for that one though? ;)

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, I don't know if it's still like that in Germany but I think it is.

The good thing was, you could do an apprenticeship in really simple things (laying tiles, warehouse management), in traditional things (car repair, gardening, brick laying) and in business-type things (working in a bookshop, in a travel agents, accounting, tax).

And everybody could find something, getting an apprenticeship and a job afterwards was never a problem.

There were no funny hats involved.