Welfare to Work

– New Pre-Apprenticeship programme will make a difference for young people

Association of Learning Providers
Press release – 12 May 2011

Subject: Downing Street announcement on youth employment

‘New pre-apprenticeship programme will make a difference for young people’

Vocational learning providers have today welcomed the government’s response to their call for new pre-apprenticeship training to get more young people in a position to start a full apprenticeship.

The Association of Learning Providers (ALP) has been a strong supporter of the coalition government’s substantial backing for apprenticeships as a driver behind efforts to improve the nation’s skills and to offer a meaningful career opportunity for young people in tough economic times.  However ALP has made it clear to ministers over the past twelve months that their efforts needed to be supported by a new skills programme to help school-leavers who aren’t eligible to start full apprenticeships.

Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister of a new Access to Apprenticeships pathway programme for 10,000 16 to 24 year olds is regarded by training leaders as another positive step forward since the Leitch Review in formulating a publicly funded skills system that is more dynamic and responsive to the needs of the economy.

ALP will be seeking assurances that the number of young people likely to benefit from the programme will increase while the NEET figures remain high, at the same time recognising that pressures on public expenditure are very tight, and that providers of the programme will be expected to have places on full apprenticeships ready for successful completers, which by law require a paid job with a local employer.

ALP believes that the now abandoned Programme Led Apprenticeships (PLAs) were damaging the apprenticeship brand by leaving too many young people with no employers to go to after finishing the course.  The Access to Apprenticeships pathway retains many of the positive elements of PLAs but the new name and programme will signal that young people are embarking on a progressive route to a gold-plated apprenticeship rather than on an apprenticeship itself.

The Access to Apprenticeships announcement follows the one in the Budget to fund 40,000 more apprenticeships for unemployed young people and ALP is pleased to see today’s latest measures being linked more closely to the new welfare-to-work initiatives being introduced by the government.

Paul Warner, ALP’s director of employment and skills, said:

Today’s announcements represent clear evidence that we are seeing more of a cross-governmental approach to avoiding a lost generation of young people.  Our biggest challenge now is finding enough employers who are willing and able to take on apprentices in the current economic climate, but training providers are working hard locally to persuade businesses of the obvious bottom-line benefits of investing in skills.”


Contact Aidan Relf on 07710 305182


Notes to editors:

1. About the Association of Learning Providers

The Association of Learning Providers (ALP) represents the interests of a range of organisations delivering state-funded vocational learning and employment placement. The majority of our 590+ member organisations are independent providers holding contracts with or through the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Department of Education (DFE) and Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), for the provision of a wide-range of work-based and work-related learning and welfare-to-work programmes, including the Work Programme. Our members deliver a significant majority of apprenticeships in England. They also include a number of consultants, regional networks, and FE colleges in membership, alongside well over 50 charities, giving ALP a well rounded and comprehensive perspective and insight on matters relating to its remit.  More information is available at: www.learningproviders.org.uk.

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