ATL comment on Ofsted report on apprenticeships
Commenting on the publication of Ofsteds report Apprenticeships: developing skills for future prosperity, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
“ATL has always supported the Government’s intention to raise the status of the apprenticeship programme and its commitment to making apprenticeships the ‘gold standard’ option for young people. However, this cannot succeed when it is still unclear whether this is a skills policy or a re-employment policy. In order to establish both the credibility and quality of apprenticeship programmes, more good quality places must be made available to the 16-24 age group and the apprenticeship brand must be consistently applied across all programmes.
“ATL have been concerned for some time that there are huge discrepancies in the quality of programmes offered. There should be a minimum one year duration for any apprenticeship programme and there must be a clear distinction between real apprenticeship programmes and work-based learning opportunities that may lead to an apprenticeship, as the current variation in offer, and subsequently in quality, damages the apprenticeship brand.
“Government rhetoric would have us believe that apprenticeships are the answer for the many young people who will be unable to access vocational education as a result of the swingeing cuts to further education. This report makes clear however, that poor quality apprenticeship programmes are still being offered to our young people. Sir Michael is right, “Being an apprentice should be a badge of honour”.