Press release

More clarity required if apprenticeship reforms are to be delivered on time, say providers

16 November 2016

A group of apprenticeship providers told independent researchers from the National Foundation for Educational Research that they remain uncertain about much of the detail of the government’s apprenticeship reforms, hindering their ability to deliver by the May 2017 deadline.

This is one key finding from a new joint report ‘Providing for the Future: Providers’ views on Apprenticeship Reform’, published today by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP). The aim was to gain an understanding about providers’ knowledge of the recent major reforms to apprenticeships and how prepared they are to implement them. Fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted with senior leaders of apprenticeship providers from a range of sectors, locations, types and sizes.

Key findings from the interviews include:

  1. The providers felt that their organisations were as ready as they could be for reform given the amount of information available, but that the provision of information had been insufficient for them to explain to employers how things would operate from May 2017.
  2. The slow release of information – especially the lack of essential details that will impact on costs – was making it difficult for providers to plan their offers and was making their engagement with employers challenging.
  3. Concerns were expressed about the lack of qualifications in the standards which show what an apprentice will be doing and the skills required of them by job role, and the resulting lack of portability and transferability of skills for individual apprentices.
  4. Providers regretted the lack of understanding and information about how end-point assessments will work, as well as their cost and how quality will be monitored.
  5. Providers reported that some employers were unwilling to engage – risking a decline in apprenticeship opportunities.

David Sims, Research Director at NFER who led the research project said: “NFER is always concerned that education policy and practice should be informed by evidence. On this occasion the evidence suggests that, at least for some apprenticeship providers, they are missing key information about these major reforms, including costs, which is limiting their ability to prepare for the Government’s given deadline and to engage with employers about the reforms as fully as they would wish.”

Mark Dawe, CEO of AELP said: “Providers need clarity and more detail to help them and their employers to strategically plan their future apprenticeship provision. The government’s October announcements may now have given them enough but the research findings certainly confirm how significant the gaps in required knowledge have been at such a critical juncture of the reform process.”

The research can be found here.


For more information contact:

Jane Parrack, Marketing and Communications Manager.
Contact: T: 01753 637245

Maryann Thomas, Content and Media Executive.
Contact: T: 01753 647161

Notes to editors

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is the national trade association representing providers involved in skills and employment delivery, responding to the needs of employers, learners and the local communities. One voice, making a

NFER is a leading independent provider of rigorous research and insights in education, working to create an excellent education for all children and young people. We are a charity and our robust and innovative research, assessments and other services are widely known and used by key decision-makers. Any surplus generated is reinvested in projects to support our charitable @TheNFER