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Increase in apprenticeships 'diluted their quality' - Ofsted

An increase in the number of apprenticeships, including some on making coffee and cleaning floors, has "diluted their quality", the education inspectorate has warned.

There are too many low-skilled jobs being defined as apprenticeships, a spokeswoman for Ofsted said a head of a speech launching a report on the subject later this week.

While apprenticeships have increased in number in recent years, many of them are not challenging employees or boosting their skills, Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw will reportedly say.

A spokeswoman for Ofsted told FE Week: "The growth in the number of apprenticeships over the last eight years has diluted their quality, with many low-skilled jobs being classed as apprenticeships and used to accredit the established skills of people who have been in a job for some time.

"These low-level apprenticeships are particularly common in service sectors, like retail and care, and do not provide sufficient training that stretches the apprentices and improves their capabilities. Instead they frequently are being used as a means of accrediting existing low-level skills, like making coffee and cleaning floors."

In August, David Cameron said the Government is committed to support three million "quality apprenticeships" over the next five years, claiming they will strengthen the economy and deliver the skills employers want and need.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: "Putting an end to poor quality apprenticeship training lies at the heart of our reforms of apprenticeships. Ofsted's report backs up the findings of our 2012 review and provides further evidence for our decision to put employers rather than training providers in the driving seat.

"We are absolutely committed to creating three million high quality apprenticeships by 2020 including many more at degree level, because apprenticeships can change the lives of young people and open the door to a good job and a rewarding career."


From Belfast Telegraph