The National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) has today welcomed the content of the Programme of Government, which pledges to create a minimum of 100,000 high quality all age apprenticeships over the next five years.
The pledge, which has cross party support in the Assembly, is a recognition of the value of apprenticeships to the Welsh economy, for employers and learners and reflects the fact that the apprenticeship programme which has evolved over many years in Wales is the best performing programme in the UK.
Sarah John, chair of the NTfW, said:
“Research highlights that the apprenticeship programme we currently have in Wales is highly successful with an overall success rate of 84% compared to 68.9 % overall in England. In addition, the current investment in apprenticeships generates more than £1 billion a year for the country’s economy and represent excellent value for money for Welsh Government investment. The return on every pound of public money invested in a Foundation Apprenticeship and an Apprenticeship could be as high as £26 and £28 respectively.
“The Welsh Government is facing significant budgetary challenges and the prioritisation given to apprenticeship provision is a reflection of the success of the programme. We would particularly welcome the opportunity to work with Welsh Government to build on the number of higher apprenticeships provided.
“In 2014/15, more than half (57%) of apprenticeships delivered in Wales were at level 3 or above (equivalent to A level) and to date we have succeeded in increasing Higher Apprenticeship provision to 22% of the overall number of Apprentices in less than two years which has included collaborative delivery between WBL providers, FE and HE as well as private sector expertise in order to meet the increased demand for higher level learning from employers.
“There are many challenges ahead to ensure that the provision continues to be a success, including the outcome of the discussions surrounding Brexit and the imminent introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy by the UK Government. We look forward to working constructively with the Welsh Government and other partners in making the case for the best deal possible for skills and employability programmes during the Brexit discussions and continuing to provide excellence in wor- based learning in Wales. All of our members across the private, public and third sector are helping Welsh Government deliver the best apprenticeship system in the UK.”