Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

Welsh Government Challenged to Improve Apprenticeships

SHARE
,

The Welsh Government is being challenged to consider introducing its own skills levy for Wales, to establish a lead body to govern the quality of apprenticeships and to clearly define the purpose of apprenticeships.

These are the three main calls to action by the City & Guilds and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) in response to a thought-provoking, independent report, ‘Maximising the Value of Apprenticeships to Wales’, which was launched at the Senedd in Cardiff.

The report was commissioned by City & Guilds and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) with support from the City & Guilds National Advisory Committee for Wales to look at ways of further improving the successful Apprenticeships Programme in Wales.

It’s the first report of its type specifically focused on apprenticeships in Wales. Responding to the report, City & Guilds and the NTfW call on the Welsh Government to publish a clear statement on the purpose of apprenticeships which includes clarity on the target age group and the intended level of outcomes and progression.

By asking Welsh Government to be unequivocal on the purpose and value of apprenticeships, we believe that individuals would be able to make better informed choices,” they said. “But in creating clarity around what an apprenticeship is and what it is not, then Welsh Government needs to consider the impact on other levels of provision.”

The second call to action is to establish a lead body to govern the quality of apprenticeships at a national level, including assessing performance against quality, progression, employment outcomes and impact. This body would report regularly to the Welsh Government.

“Concentrating effort in a single body, rather than dispersed among several, will bring clarity on who sets direction, who provides accountability for the system and will be much more cost effective,” said City & Guilds and the NTfW.

“A level of independence from government is important for any lead body to ensure sustainability and stability. But continuing to work closely with Welsh Government as a key partner is equally important. Getting the leadership and governance of the lead body right and using the right measures will also be crucial to its success.”

The third call is for the Welsh Government to undertake a comprehensive review of the UK apprenticeship levy as it relates to Wales. This review will aim to meet the needs of employers and individuals in Wales, align with systems across the UK and continue to give priority to apprenticeships in Wales.

“If the UK wide levy does not bring the benefits and value to Wales, then a comprehensive review is required,” said City & Guilds and the NTfW. “Employers in Wales need to feel their investment is having a direct and positive impact on their need for skills and in turn support social mobility for individuals.

“Alignment with the other UK nations is also important to support mobility of labour and transferability of skills and will also allow large multi-site employers to have a consistent apprenticeship offer across the UK.

“A broader skills levy will ensure maximum returns for employers although we suggest a continued priority is given to apprenticeships to guarantee a constant pipeline of new talent.”

Other recommendations by City & Guilds and the NTfW include:

  • Revisiting the all age policy and current policy on level 2 and level 3 apprenticeships;
  • Enabling the apprenticeship system, including qualification review and development, to respond faster to labour market demands;
  • Developing performance indicators to demonstrate excellence and impact in apprenticeships to inform inspection and other quality frameworks;
  • Establishing the optimal number of apprenticeship frameworks for employers in Wales to meet current and future labour market demands and provide progression into priority occupations;
  • Establishing criteria for selection of providers, prioritising quality of teaching, learning and assessment, performance management of subcontractors and management of funding to achieve quality results.

The report authors David Sherlock, CBE and Nicky Perry, MBE, of Beyond Standards, were asked to research and analyse the depth and breadth of the Apprenticeships Programme in Wales and how it benefits individuals and the Welsh economy.

The research, carried out between June and November 2018, comprised reviewing a raft of publications from recent years relevant to apprenticeships in Wales, together with interviews with employers, apprenticeship training providers, further education colleges, representative bodies and government officials.

Sarah John, NTfW chair, said:

“We are all passionate about the role of apprenticeships in creating a successful, modern economy and a fairer society in Wales. Not only do we believe in better, we want to be able to influence and help shape a future for Wales where everyone benefits.

“Of all the changes identified by the report, speed and agility in policy formation and implementation is top of the list. Overwhelmingly, there is a sense that when change is needed, it happens too slowly.

“That presents a challenge if Wales is to respond positively and with impact to the demand for new and more skills. Some apprenticeship frameworks are outdated and will need refreshing quickly and in response to the needs of employers and the labour market.

“This report also identifies there is much to celebrate. The calls to action for the Welsh Government, which are designed to move the discussion about the quality of the Apprenticeships Programme forward, have the potential for immediate impact.”

Kirstie Donelly, group managing director of City & Guilds / ILM, DigitalMe, said:

“Apprenticeships are essential to unlocking the talent potential, enabling social mobility and driving economic growth in Wales. Now, with Brexit uncertainty and rising skills gaps and shortages, is the time for the Welsh Government to take stock of its apprenticeship provisions and take decisive action.

“This report highlights the importance of having an apprenticeship system that enables employers to fully embed them into their businesses. The principles adopted by the Welsh Government have been welcomed, but there are changes that people want to see.

“Apprenticeships lead to better jobs, career progression, improved productivity and a reduction in the impact of skills shortages. We believe our recommendations can address the issues uncovered by the Beyond Standards report and if implemented will set Wales on the path to success.”

Report authors David Sherlock and Nicky Perry said:

“We’re grateful to the many employers, apprenticeship providers and officials in Wales who gave us their views. They told us that Apprenticeships in Wales are thriving and have avoided many of the mistakes made elsewhere. But they also told us that now is the moment for bold decisions which could make Wales the best place in the UK to recruit highly-skilled working people.

“We believe in that optimistic vision and our report suggests some first steps to make it a reality.”

SHARE

Duncan Foulkes Public Relations Limited is a well established communications consultancy based in beautiful Mid Wales.

Incorporating public and media relations, the consultancy provides a range of services to businesses and organisations throughout Wales and the Marches.

A former newspaper journalist for 24 years, Duncan moved into PR in 1999 after editing the County Times & Express & Gazette newspapers – the main weekly titles in Mid Wales – for five years.

His main reason for leaving the newspaper industry was a desire for a new career challenge. His successful PR business predominantly focuses on companies based in Wales and Shropshire.

His motto is to keep things as simple as possible to avoid over-complicating what is a straightforward goal – to achieve media coverage for a client.

Duncan’s wide-ranging work entails media campaigns, researching and drafting press releases, media liaison, political lobbying, event management, organising photocalls, website content advice, social media and newsletters.

He has extensive PR experience of the food and drink, education and training, catering and hospitality, insurance and financial services, manufacturing, tourism, farming, property, fine art, lubricants and telematics sectors.

His contacts extend from local newspapers in Wales to the national print and broadcast media, trade publications and digital media.

Duncan Foulkes PR uses only the most creative photographers, ensuring that photography to support his work is of the highest quality.

He is passionate about issues relating to the countryside and enjoys fly fishing, watching sport and spending time with his family in his spare time.

Services provided:

Public Relations
Media Relations
Public Affairs
Copywriting
Crisis Communications
Event management

 

Related Articles

>