The Enterprise Bill is designed to support the Governments aim to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. Mr Boles said: “Our apprenticeships revolution has already given 2.4 million people the chance to learn the skills they need to get on in life, with businesses leading the way. Now it’s time for the public sector to step up and give those same opportunities as we turbo-charge our drive to give youngsters the best start to working life.”
According to the Secretaries of State for Business and Education, ‘Apprenticeships benefit employers, apprentices and the economy. High quality apprenticeships are essential to support our employers and to help our economy to prosper in the years to come. Expanding the number of apprenticeships will improve the capacity and capability of the public sector, ensuring that it benefits from the same positive impacts as in the rest of the economy and enable more people to achieve their potential.’.
The apprenticeship target will be a minimum 2.3% starts each year based on the headcount of employees working for the public sector in England. This includes a public authority and a body or other person that is not a public authority but has functions of a public nature and is funded wholly or partly from public funds. The proposal is that the duty to employ apprentices will apply to public sector bodies and organisations that have 250 or more employees in England. The idea is to also encourage smaller public bodies to deliver apprenticeship growth to support the target.
Apprentices employed by Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs) and who work for, but are not directly employed by the body can count towards the target.
The success of the minimum standards and the further provisions to improve quality is beginning to show in apprenticeship evaluation reports. In 2014, they found that 89% of apprentices and 82% of employers were satisfied with the apprenticeship respectively.
The full Consultation on Apprenticeship Targets for Public Sector Bodies is available via the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.