Further Education (FE) colleges and businesses believe they will struggle to recruit the numbers and quality of apprentices they need to sustain economic growth over the next five years.
Education cuts, poor careers advice, and schools keeping pupils on to maintain funding, are all identified as contributing factors.
A survey, conducted by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), has found that the majority of training providers welcomed the Government’s ambition to increase apprenticeships to three million but feared other policies will make it impossible to achieve.
Impossible to achieve
IMI CEO Steve Nash said: “With funding for education set to be squeezed, employers and training providers in the motor industry are voicing fears that they will lose out in the race for the best learners.
“Schools will seek to keep as many ‘paying’ students in 6th form as possible.”
The IMI represents the £152 billion a year retail motor industry, which needs 12,000 apprentices a year to stand still.
78 per cent of survey respondents said that careers advice is at best unhelpful.
Only ten per cent think advice offered by the National Careers Service has any impact on apprentice recruitment.
Anecdotal evidence collected as part of the survey points to a lack of understanding in schools of the technical and academic requirements of an apprenticeship.
84 per cent said that most applicants do not have the required academic grades.
Rather employ migrant workers
Most businesses reported that the ’employability’ of prospective trainees sent to them by schools was poor, many are saying they would rather employ migrant workers than take on an apprentice.
All respondents agreed that the current situation is set to get much worse now the education participation age has been raised to 18 in England.
It is not widely understood by parents or young people that this is not restricted to school, and apprentice trainers report that schools are hoarding students and withholding information about vocational training at 16.
Nash added: “The Government has pledged to increase the number of apprenticeships to three million by 2020, but with skills shortages starting to appear in every sector of the economy this looks like a conservative ambition.
The Education Select Committee has flagged similar fears to those raised by apprentice trainers.
Recommendations to strengthen independent careers advice have been dismissed by the Government.
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