Short apprenticeships ‘of little benefit’

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Apprenticeships of less than six months provide “no real benefit” to trainees or their employers, a parliamentary report warns.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee praised the Business Department’s drive to boost the number of apprenticeships, which quadrupled from 79,000 in 2006/07 to 325,500 in 2010/11, with the proportion completed successfully rising from 34 per cent to 78 per cent over six years.

But the cross-party committee voiced concern over the amount and quality of training, and welcomed Skills Minister John Hayes’s announcement in April that in future the vast majority of apprenticeships will last more than 12 months.

The report said that the £451m apprenticeship programme, offering work-related training for full-time employees in England, was a proven success, delivering £18 in economic benefits for every £1 spent.

But the committee said England still lagged behind other countries in the size of its programme and in the proportion of apprentices taking advanced-level courses.