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The Future of Apprenticeships

The Future of Apprenticeships

Shaping public policy on vocational training in the UK

Apprenticeships are central to government strategy for the future of vocational education and training (VET). The research of our project team in the Institute of Employment Research has directly influenced government policy in relation to VET, improving the delivery of apprenticeships and the experience for learners. Professor Terence Hogarth and Dr Lynn Gambin’s research has also educated key stakeholders and informed the collation of statistics about apprenticeships cited in parliamentary debates.

The challenge

Increasing the number of apprenticeships available is a longstanding goal of public policy. Whilst there is a demand for apprenticeships from young people, there is sometimes reluctance from employers to offer these opportunities, largely due to concerns about funding and costs. As a result of the project team’s Net Costs and Benefits studies and research, policy makers and employers are able to fully understand the costs and benefits of apprenticeship programmes.

Our approach

The IER team, led by Professor Terence Hogarth and Dr Lynn Gambin, explored four key areas of research around apprenticeships:

  • Employer and apprentice behaviour

  • Apprenticeship funding

  • Higher level apprenticeships

  • How to best evaluate apprenticeship policy

Their research has directly informed government policy around apprenticeship levy policy and Dr Gambin was appointed as a Specialist Adviser by the House of Commons Education Committee for the inquiry into apprenticeships and traineeships for 16-19 year olds.

Our impact

The work carried out by Professor Hogarth and Dr Gambin has directly influenced government policy. Their findings informed the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy and policy on employer co-financing of apprenticeships. The team’s expertise has helped to shape public debate around apprenticeships, including presentations for colleges, universities, employers and industry bodies.

By engaging with stakeholders, the research team have been able to examine the effects of the latest reforms on different sectors and types of employers. Following their recommendations, the Government now carries out annual surveys to ensure data on vocational training remain relevant. Thanks to the input of the IER team, apprenticeship policy is based on the most recent research in the field, benefiting all key stakeholders including the government, apprenticeship providers and young learners.

Find out more about the IER's research into apprenticeships and training

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