When it comes to apprenticeships, everyone is in agreement: the government, employers,training providers and learners are convinced that apprenticeships deliver benefits for all stakeholders. While they are all keen on promoting apprenticeships, they must deepen their cooperation to achieve an even more important goal, according to David Hughes. The CEO of the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has called for a wider agreement to ensure that apprentices get support to acquire skills that will serve them not only in their present job but throughout their careers.
Hughes was among the members of an FE Week panel at a Labour Party conference fringe event discussing the future of apprenticeships. The event took place last week just as the Labour Party Skills Task Force released a report titled “A revolution in apprenticeships: a something-for-something deal with employers.” Hughes outlined his views in an article for the FE Week website, publishing his piece the day after the discussion.
One of the key points he made was the need for a wider definition of apprenticeships so that it can better describe the quality of the training experience and the outcomes. This definition should take into consideration input from apprentices, employers and training organisations and all of them need to be in agreement. Hughes said it was his greatest desire to see the creation of a Quality Charter that would reflect the apprentice perspective and would be developed together with apprentices. This would provide a guarantee that trainees will have the necessary skills to build lasting, rewarding careers.
Hughes added that it was extremely important to make apprenticeships available to every person, without regard for their age or occupation. He also urged employers to provide more training opportunities to black people and ethnic minorities and individuals with a disability or learning difficulties.