Apprenticeships ‘obsession’ risks damaging other skills policies, AoC warns

Q: is this only a scary prospect of colleges are not into apprenticeships in a big way?

Politicians’ “obsession” with apprenticeships risks undermining other further education and skills policies, a leading sector figure has warned.

Julian Gravatt, assistant chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said adult learners and young people with other skills needs risked becoming “lost” after the election if any of the three main parties were to implement their apprenticeship plans.

The Conservatives have pledged to create an extra three million apprenticeships over the course of the next parliament, while Labour have promised an apprenticeship for every young person who “gets the grades”. The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, have promised to double the number of employers offering apprenticeships.

Mr Gravatt told TES: “[The parties] are right that apprenticeships matter and have a real role, but the danger is that further reforms will risk disrupting some of the other things that work quite well already. There is a range of other education and skills needs where we are short on solutions.

“This obsession with apprenticeships risks missing the fact that there’s tens of millions of people over 16 who are outside the apprenticeships system and have other education and training needs. They are lost in the current political debate.”

“More thought and attention” needed to be given to adult further education, he added. The AoC has warned that continued cuts at the current rate would see adult education and training completely disappear by 2020.

Mr Gravatt’s concerns were echoed by Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP).

Writing to AELP members last week, Mr Segal said: “Let us hope that the election promises made by all major parties do not override those principles of making this programme work effectively for young people and employers.”

David Grailey, chief executive of vocational awarding body NCFE, said that while it was “fantastic” to see apprenticeships so high on the political agenda, cuts to adult FE were a “major cause for concern”.

“The value of adult education should not be underestimated – it’s integral in an aging population where people are retiring later and having multiple careers within their working life,” he said. “We would like to see its importance acknowledged with commitment from the government to safeguarding funding for vocational qualifications, as opposed to focusing solely on apprenticeships

This entry was posted in Comment by Paul Champion. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Champion

Some have called me a leader, and a entrepreneur, they say I have integrity, presence and skills to ensure continuous improvement and success in whatever challenges I face. They also tell me that I am positive, resilient and motivating. I say, I'm just a normaI guy from Gateshead in the North of England, who started as an apprentice engineer. I have been in the right place at the right time and in the wrong place at the wrong time! I have successfully initiated and led complex organizations and situations to completion and success, and I have been in some jobs where success seemed untouchable. Mainly though, I have tried to learn everyday, help people to progress and learn the skills they need to be successful. I have had the privilege of working with some great people locally across the UK and more recently internationally in Asia, Europe and now USA, where I am lucky enough to work for where I am head of 3aaa USA. This website is just me having an outlet to talk about all those thoughts, ideas and things I learn that pass through my head every day when I face the challenge of doing business. I will also rant on about how great apprenticeships are, and how you can help change peoples lives through them. After all thats how I got to do the great things that I have done, and also I am still an apprentice everyday! All I ask is that if you find it interesting then leave a comment and share what you read. THANK YOU.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s