date: 5 September 2012
embargo: 00.01hrs Thursday 6 September 2012
Stronger regulation and enforcement is needed to weed out sub-standard apprenticeship schemes and raise quality standards, the TUC says today (Thursday) in its submission to the Richard Review into the future of apprenticeships.
The TUC is a long-term supporter of apprenticeships and has welcomed the efforts of both the previous and current governments to boost the quality and popularity of apprenticeships.
However, the TUC is concerned that a minority of employers are providing poor quality schemes which risk tarnishing the much-improved reputation of apprenticeships. Worse still, some companies are able to do this while still claiming government subsidies, says the TUC.
The TUC submission cites statistics from the latest apprenticeship pay survey by the Department for Business, which shows that one in five apprentices were paid less than the minimum wage and one in five did not receive any recognisable training.
Poor quality schemes are bad for apprentices if they are not paid enough, aren't given adequate training and don't get a job at the end of the course, says the TUC. But they are also bad for the job sectors that rely on apprenticeships if trainees are not prepared or able to move into work, says the submission.
The TUC wants the government to focus on increasing the number of apprenticeships and supporting 'gold-standard' schemes that lead to good quality jobs.
To do this ministers must use stronger regulation and enforcement, such as prosecuting employers who flout minimum pay rates and giving apprentices a right to progress into employment or higher education. This would ensure that rogue employers cannot get away with using taxpayers' money to provide sub-standard courses.
The TUC submission highlights five key areas where minimum standards for apprenticeships must be enforced:
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'It's great to see unions, employers and all the political parties fully behind the growth of apprenticeships.
'As long term supporters of apprenticeships, we believe they offer a valuable route into skilled employment. And with one in five young people out of work, apprenticeships should provide part of the answer for dealing with our youth jobs crisis - as long as they lead to jobs.
'Unfortunately the reputation of apprenticeships is being tarnished by a minority of dodgy employers offering half-baked schemes with low pay, poor quality training and little chance of a job at the end. Worse still, many of these companies are getting taxpayers' money for shoddy apprenticeships.
'Ministers must use stricter enforcement and regulation to clamp down on rogue schemes. This is the best way to bolster the popularity of apprenticeships amongst potential trainees and industry leaders.
'The Richard Review provides the perfect opportunity to raise the quality of apprenticeships, a move that will benefit millions of apprentices and the employers who will use them in future.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The TUC submission to the Richard Review is available at http://bit.ly/PFCaTh
- More information on the Richard Review is available at http://bit.ly/OUD4w6
- The unionlearn apprenticeship toolkit - a resource for union reps wanting to approach employers about taking on apprentices - is available to download at http://bit.ly/NJTOcN
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
- Congress 2012 will be held at the Brighton Centre from Sunday 9 September to Wednesday 12 September 2012. The deadline for free media passes was noon on Wednesday 29 August. Credentials can still be applied for by completing the online form www.tuc.org.uk/mediacredentials but will now cost £50.
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: email@example.com
Alex Rossiter T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07887 572130 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Press release (700 words) issued 6 Sep 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-21375-f0.cfm
printed 18 May 2013 at 14:31 hrs by 126.96.36.199