IFS warns of apprentice issues

The government’s target to rapidly increase the number of apprentices risks being ‘poor value for money’ according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The BBC reports a think tank has warned that current expansion plans could devalue the ‘brand’ of apprenticeships by turning it into ‘just another term for training’.

Three million apprenticeships, funded by an employer levy, is the government’s target but the report warns the government has ‘failed to make a convincing case for such a large and rapid expansion in apprenticeships’ and warns of ‘wildly optimistic’ claims for how much extra earnings could be generated by the investment in apprentices.

The apprenticeship levy is expected to raise £2.8bn per year from employers, yet the think tank warns that spending on apprenticeships will only increase by £640m.

Speaking to the BBC, Labour’s shadow skills minister Gordon Marsden said, ‘Rushing to hit a three million target without sorting out the quality or increasing the proportion of apprenticeships under the age of 25 means they risk failing to deliver the long-term skills strategy we need.’