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The Benefits of Hindsight: Assessing the impact of apprenticeship reforms on employer behaviour

A new report from IER provides an explanation for the decline in the number of apprenticeships starts following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017. The research, funded by the Edge Foundation and Gatsby Foundation, was based on reviewing statistical evidence, and conducting interviews with a range of employers to find out how their apprenticeship recruitment had changed following the Levy’s introduction.

The report’s authors – Peter Dickinson and Terence Hogarth – explain the fall in the number of apprenticeship starts with reference to an increasing preference for employers to place people on relatively high level and more costly apprenticeships, and a fall in the number of apprentices being taken on in smaller, non-Levy paying enterprises. There are some transitional effects as well which are likely to be smoothed out with the passage of time.

The executive summary of the report is available along with the short report and the long report. Read Peter Dickinson's article in the HR Director here.

Tue 07 Sep 2021, 08:55 | Tags: apprenticeships, Covid-19

Future Proofing Apprenticeships

IER has been working with the Co-op Group to evaluate its apprenticeship programmes. The initial study was halted due to lockdown restrictions and it was decided to change the focus of the study to see how apprenticeships could be developed to meet the changing job roles and skills needs, and help to ‘build back better’.

The study focused on the two sectors where the Co-op delivers most apprenticeships: food retail and funeral care. The research involved the analysis of employment and apprenticeship data and interviews with the main employers, sector groups and providers across the two sectors.

Despite distinct differences between the two sectors, there were a lot of common themes including a broadening of job roles, more flexible working and the need to develop digital skills.

The report 'Future Proofing Apprenticeships' was launched at a virtual conference on Thursday 26th November. Attendees included sector stakeholders, apprenticeship organisations and Government Departments.

Thu 26 Nov 2020, 16:04 | Tags: apprenticeships

Covid-19 - Employer incentives for apprenticeships

Warwick IER was commissioned by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to advise on how incentives can support employer apprenticeships during and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

The study involved an international review of evidence on the financial and other incentives countries use to stimulate employer investment in apprenticeships. It explored: (a) where employer incentives have worked best; (b) how they were targeted; (c) which instruments were used; and (d) the risks and opportunities of different incentives.

The report provided an assessment of how incentive best practice might be applied in Scotland the short-, medium- and longer term, based on an analysis of Scottish apprenticeship data and consultations with international Vocational Education and Training (VET) experts.

Wed 30 Sep 2020, 18:12 | Tags: employers, apprenticeships, Covid-19

IER's Lynn Gambin to provide evidence on Apprenticeships to Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy

Lynn Gambin has been invited to provide evidence to the Select Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy for their inquiry into apprenticeships and the 'skills gap'. Lynn will appear before the committee along with other academic experts, apprenticeship training providers and the National Union of Students on 8th June at 2pm. For more information on the Committee's Inquiry and the evidence session, see

Previously, Lynn served as Specialist Adviser to the Education Select Committee on its inquiry into Apprenticeships and Traineeships for 16-19 year old (see the Committee's report here).

Lynn Gambin at Policy-UK forum on Apprenticeships

Lynn Gambin will be chairing the second session at a Policy-UK forum on 10th March 2016 at the Royal Society of Chemistry, London. The forum, 'Creating a generaton of Apprentices - funding, quality and a route to employment', is scheduled to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week 2016 and will provide delegates with an opportunity to hear the latest progress and policy priorities aimed at ensuring young people have the skills required by employers. With the Government committed to creating 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020, this for will consider how these new apprenticeships will be funded, what can be done to ensure their quality, particularly since concerns have been raised by Ofsted about the number of apprenticeships being awarded for ‘low-level’ skills (examples include tea making and cleaning floors), as well as how to encourage more employers to provide training and qualifications for young people, including the success of Trailblazer groups. Delegates will also discuss the availability of Higher Level apprenticeships and how their status can be improved and recognised as an alternative to university, as well as assessing whether the post-apprenticeship route into employment is adequately defined and supported.

IER's Lynn Gambin will chair the second half of the event which includes sessions entitled 'Are apprenticeships delivering for young people?' and 'What employers want - do apprenticeships address the skills shortage?'.

Details of the event can be found at here.

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