When is an apprentice not an apprentice?

It is proposed in the Enterprise Bill that only those on Government accredited schemes may be described as serving an “apprenticeship”. Will it matter?

Employers will need to be careful how they describe training opportunities in the future with the likelihood that offering apprenticeships without having a government accreditation will become an offence. The Government is concerned to protect the term ‘apprenticeship’ and what it stands for.

In reality, we suggest there is little to protect. At one time being an apprentice was a source of pride. Companies selected people for apprenticeships. Training was provided alongside a skilled tradesman for an electrical, mechanical or artisan craft. The training formed a contract. This was not employment, but there was an excellent prospect of well-paid work when the training was complete. Skilled trades people were highly respected. There was pride in an achievement.

The Government promises more apprenticeships, but is this quantity over quality? For several decades, the term “apprenticeships” has become devalued with many semi-skilled and even lower skilled jobs becoming the subject of apprenticeships. The fact that this is recognised by Ofsted provides confirmation that apprenticeships no longer belong to the world of work but to the world of education.

The continual dumbing down of the skills in qualifications, be it for a time served apprentice, a graduate or a professional, will do nothing to lift the UK’s productivity growth above zero.

Training Courses

Click here to register for one of our Training Courses.