A Good Report Undermined by a Poorly Thought Through Recommendation
There is much to commend in the recent report from The Centre for Social Justice Trade Secrets How to reboot apprenticeships and kick-start the economy. The analysis is generally fair, and most recommendations are worthy of consideration. Regrettably, one observation in the report that attracted consideration press attention, would significantly undermine the Apprenticeship agenda.
“Individuals who hold an existing degree-level qualification should not be able to draw down on apprenticeship funds to undertake a degree level apprenticeship.” And that “These individuals should, instead, have access to student finance to support the costs of their degree-level apprenticeships.” – page 16
Perhaps the Centre for Social Justice would like to explain why social justice is best served by:
- Preventing local authority from spending THEIR Apprenticeship levy payments on training an individual through an Apprenticeship as a social worker just because the individual already has a degree? And why using funds paid by a local authority instead to train a young person as a chef in a small private business, that doesn’t pay the levy is a better use of Apprenticeship funding?
- Not allowing the NHS to spend ITS levy payments on training, through approved Apprenticeships, individuals as Advanced Clinical Practitioners (level 7), Physician Associates (level 7) or as Senior Leaders (Level 7) because they already have a level 6 qualification? And why the NHS is not in the best position to decide how best to use its Apprenticeship levy payments to deliver patient care.
There seems to be little logic to the Centre for Social Justice’s proposal. Why for example should an individual with a level 3 qualification be entitled to do a level 2 Apprenticeship, but an individual with a level 6 qualification not be allowed to do a levy funded Degree Apprenticeship, at level 6 or 7?
Bizarrely, the Centre for Social Justice report was launched on the same day as the Department of Health and Social Care’s announcement of funding to support Apprenticeships for 8,000 new nurses. I doubt any of the patients who will be cared for by such new nurses will be concerned as to whether they already had a degree at the start of their nurse training. Let’s hope new barriers aren’t introduced that prevent the NHS using Apprenticeships to recruit the nurses the Country needs.
We would ask the Treasury, Department of Health and Social Care, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Department of Education to reject the Centre for Social Justice’s proposal. Rather than imposing restrictions on the ability of public sector employers to use Degree Apprenticeships they should be supported to use Degree Apprenticeships to train the individuals they need to enhance public sector service delivery.