The Government must give the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) the independence and clout it needs to reform and regulate the English skills system. That’s according to the first of a 2019 series of CBI-authored apprenticeship reports entitled ‘Getting Apprenticeships Right: Next Steps’.
The Government has already undertaken significant steps to evolve the apprenticeship system and is listening to businesses’ calls for continued reform in this area. A second wave of Government action is now needed to ensure that apprenticeships lead to high-skilled, high-paid jobs that fit firms’ needs now and into the future.
The key report recommendations include:
*Government making clear that the IfA is the principal body for vocational skills in England with the clout to hold policymakers and the skills sector to account
*The IfA must take further steps to speed up the apprenticeship standards approval process so that businesses can start using them
*With employer levy funds due to start expiring from April, the Government must urgently set up an appeals system that gives employers longer to spend their money where apprenticeship standards remain in development
*With the IfA assuming responsibility for T-Levels and higher T-Levels, it should set out a clear vision of how they will fit into the skills system, subsequently giving employers and the public greater confidence in them.
John Cope, the CBI’s head of education and skills policy, said: “This business-backed blueprint needs to be taken seriously to make sure the English skills system supports, rather than frustrates, employers offering a first step to people in their career. This must include giving the Institute for Apprenticeships the independence and clout it needs to create a world-class skills system in England. The Government should be given credit for its commitment to skills reform to date. What’s clear is that both the Government and businesses understand the need for high-quality apprenticeships in every sector in order that our economy is able to flourish.”