Special Report: Apprenticeships

The government has a goal to create at least three million apprenticeships by 2020, with many of these placements being targeted at vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of young people, writes Derren Hayes.

Apprenticeships are a vital route into employment for young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. They can be the bridge from school to the world of work, and research shows they play an important role in improving social mobility.

After decades in the policy backwaters, apprenticeships have since 2010 become integral to successive governments' skills strategies. However, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy - essentially a tax on employers - has seen the number of new apprenticeships created fall significantly in the last two years. Those at the entry level - which are most used by disadvantaged young people - have been hardest hit.

The government has, belatedly, acted to address this, but campaigners and MPs say more still needs to be done to ensure a sufficient number of young people are able to access high-quality apprenticeships.

Despite the recent fall, councils and other public sector agencies are increasingly working with local employers to encourage the creation of apprenticeships and help young people access these. Many are also looking to develop their own apprenticeship schemes to offer a leg up to disadvantaged groups of young people they support.

CYP Now's special report on apprenticeships assesses the latest research on how apprenticeships are operating, summarises recent policy developments affecting the sector, and highlights four examples of projects and initiatives helping young people become apprentices.

Click on the links below for more:

Apprenticeships: Policy context

Research evidence:

T Level Extended Work Placement Research

Learners and Apprentices Survey

Spotlight on Apprenticeships and Social Mobility

Young People In Low Level Vocational Education: Characteristics, Trajectories and Labour Market Outcomes

Practice Examples:

Steel city forges closer links with employers

An apprenticeship store for Stockport young people

Charity gives Kent young people's opportunities a lift

Specialist employment support for London care leavers

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