Apprenti*

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It seems 53% of apprenticeships were completed in the UK in 2021 and one response seems to be to want to get people back into face to face courses with 200 hours of tuition.

I have no doubt that good quality face to face support will help improve apprenticeships but the issues with them run much deeper than that.

For example, organisations are paying £4.5k from their Levy for an apprenticeship when a course can be procured for a third of the price. The simple reason is organisations need to spend their Levy – use it or lose it – and with a clamour of people wanting to use their funds, it’s no surprise it will create dysfunctional behaviours within the supply side

The requirement for 20% of learning to be off the job has skewed apprenticeship design. It is easy to translate into 1 day in 5 of a working week as a face to face course. Yet we know that people learn in context, in the workplace with peers and supervisors. Moving more time away from the workplace meets the requirement of education, but not the need for effective learning.

Again, my arguments about capability being capacity and ability rise again. Creating capacity (the space to perform) must be taken into account. There is little point developing ability, whether it be face to face, online, remotely or in person, if there is reduced opportunity to apply those skills in the workplace.

This is where apprenticeships have fallen down. It’s not about the quality of education; it’s about the quality of capacity and support to develop people in the workplace.

As long as apprenticeships are governed by educational management there will be a schism between the expectations of providers, candidates, employers, and governance. Definitions of apprenticeships vary but their primary driver is they are based in the workplace and supervised by an employer. Involve workplace learning in the supervision and start making them less about education and more about effective workplace skills.

*This is 53% of the word Apprenticeships

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