Many tens of thousands of apprentices are dropping out of their programmes every year, according to a hard-hitting report by an education think tank.
The EDSK carried out an investigation into the quality of apprenticeships in England called No Train No Gain.
It found that many businesses were providing little or no training to apprentices and that nearly half of those enrolled onto programmes failed to complete their courses.
The report said that low skills roles were being “rebadged” as apprenticeships that the apprenticeship brand was being misused and that in some cases apprentices are being “denied” the training they are entitled to receive.
It went on to say that employers were ignoring their responsibilities when it came to delivering on-the-job training and despite the value of this type of training one in five (19 per cent) of apprentices report no on-the-job training at all from their employer. This rose to one in four (26 per cent) for those on entry-level apprenticeships.
The report stated: “In light of these uncomfortable truths, it is perhaps unsurprising that almost half (47 per cent) of all apprentices are now dropping out before completing their course.”
Given that around 350,000 people started apprenticeships in England in the 2021-22 academic year that drop-out figure equates to more than 163,000.
It went on to say: “A staggering 70 per cent of those who drop out report concerns about the quality of their apprenticeship – equivalent to around 115,000 apprentices a year.”
It concluded that: ”While there are many excellent apprenticeships available, this report has no choice but to conclude that the quality of apprenticeships in England remains a serious problem.”
Adding: “Our apprenticeship system should be reconfigured so that it puts the needs of apprentices alongside the needs of employers. If this change in culture and mindset does not materialise in the coming years, apprenticeships will continue to be “considered second class” and lack the prestige tied to attending university.”