Apprentices are a method of training individuals, usually within a skilled profession, whilst they undertake work at the same time. Although they are often perceived as a way into employment for younger people, apprentices are open to all who are aged over 16. The government encourages organisations to use apprentices as a method of creating a skilled workforce.
In England, funding of apprenticeships has been amended in recent years, with the apprenticeship levy introduced for large employers and co-investment introduced for smaller employers.
The Institute for Apprenticeship was launched in 2017 as a non-department public body who aim to create and develop quality apprenticeships.
A pilot scheme allowing apprentices to take on roles with consecutive employers has been launched with select providers in England only.
Further details as to how the scheme will work are expected to be released.
Employers and HR professionals are calling for the replacement of the current Apprenticeship Levy with a broader training levy, which can be accessed by more employees. The Apprenticeship Levy has come under criticism for failing to increase the number of people benefiting from apprenticeships. Funds raised from the Apprenticeship Levy are often used for management training or simply not used at all.
A number of changes to the apprenticeship system have been announced by the Minister for Skills, Alex Burghart, aimed at making apprenticeships simpler, more consistent, easier with regard to maths and English requirements, and more efficient.
These changes are designed to reduce bureaucratic burdens on employers and providers, and give apprentices the best experience possible.