At the Skills Show today, Robert Halfon MP, chair of the Education select committee in the House of Commons, announced a new committee inquiry into the quality of apprenticeships and skills training:
https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news-parliament-2017/quality-of-apprenticeships-and-skills-launch-17-19/

The inquiry will cover :

  • The quality of current provision, how this varies by sector, level and region, and the impact of this on learner outcomes;
  • The effectiveness of the quality monitoring system, in particular the role and capacity of Ofsted;
  • The role of the Education and Skills Funding Agency in ensuring value for money, and the impact of different funding models;
  • Quality and oversight of training provided by subcontractors; and
  • Quality of training received by the socially disadvantaged, and barriers to them undertaking this training.

In response to the announcement, AELP CEO Mark Dawe said:

‘This inquiry offers a very welcome opportunity to remind us that apprenticeships are as much about being drivers of social justice as they are about improving workforce productivity at all levels. After the huge drop in programme starts since the levy’s introduction and the fall in traineeships, it will also be the right time to review how the funding and commissioning systems are working to deliver growth across all skills programmes and AELP is especially encouraged by the committee’s reference to ensuring value for money.

‘While we must never be complacent on the matter, the fact is that Ofsted found that 82% of the independent training providers inspected last year were good or outstanding. The inquiry will give us the chance to discuss how success and quality should be measured and take a thorough look at how differing responsibilities for quality assurance are shared between Ofsted, DfE, ESFA, IfA and Ofqual – our members tell us that employers find it confusing.’

The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 5 January 2018.

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