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Warning issued for government's apprenticeship aims

31 January 2017

A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) labels the government's aims to dramatically increase numbers of apprenticeships warns this could result in them being devalued.

This could lead to them being turned into "just another term for training", although the report agrees there is a "desperate need" for improved vocational training.

Improved technical education is one of the feature's in the government's Industry Strategy, which is currently the topic of a consultation.

However, the IFS report says that such a rapid expansion in the number of apprenticeships runs the risk of creating a number of issues, according to the BBC.

It states that spending on will only increase by £640m per annum, although the government says its Apprenticeship Levy, due to be introduced in April, will raise £2.8bn by 2020.

This means that most of the revenue raised will be spent elsewhere, says the IFS.

Another potential issue is that incentives to hire apprentices will result in employs diverting funds to train their current employees.

The IFS says that there is also a danger of a reduction in quality if other training initiatives are adjusted to work as apprenticeships.

Another potential negative impact of the Apprenticeship Levy is that it could mean lower wages for other employees.

Further criticism was also aimed at the government's "cavalier" approach in its use of statistics to develop its apprenticeships policy.

This could have the effect of undermining the gradual expansion of apprenticeships, for which there is a "perfectly sensible case", said the IFS.

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