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The Government Launches a Survey Related to Protecting the Terms ‘Apprentice’ and ‘Apprenticeship’

10th September 2019

Today sees the launch of a consultation to help inform moves to protect the Apprenticeship brand in a similar way to ‘degrees’. It is interesting to note that the protection will only apply to providers, not to employers who remain free to call any scheme they put in place an ‘Apprenticeship’ unless it is government funded. The announcement is below. As you know delivering three million new apprenticeship starts during this Parliament is a key priority for the Government. For this to be achieved all parties, including prospective apprentices, parents and employers, need to have confidence that an apprenticeship is a high quality choice consisting of employment with training. The Government has already defined the key characteristics of an approved English apprenticeship (both apprenticeship frameworks and standards) to ensure that these deliver a high quality outcome for young people – real employment, with high quality on and off the job training, lasting over 12 months. As the apprenticeship brand grows, and there is an increasing focus on, and status of, apprenticeships, Government is concerned that there may be a temptation for the term ‘apprenticeship’ to be applied to lower-quality courses that do not meet the high standards of a Government funded apprenticeship in an effort to make them more attractive to employers or learners. There is a risk that this could dilute the apprenticeship brand and result in negative experiences for people who undertake them. At present there is no protection of the term ‘apprenticeship’ in law that could allow Government to take action in these instances. They have therefore developed proposals to address this risk and prevent the misuse of the term. The measure, which Government intends to introduce as part of the Enterprise Bill this Autumn, would prohibit any person using the term ‘apprenticeship’ or ‘apprentice’ in relation to any course or training in England unless it is a Government funded apprenticeship. Training providers are critical to delivering high quality apprenticeships and the vast majority are successful in delivering excellent training. This legislation will not have an impact on them. The aim of this legislation is to affect the behaviour of some providers at the margins who detract from the overall positive picture. It is important to note that this measure will not affect employers that offer their own contracts of apprenticeship or other non-Government funded internal apprenticeship training. Nor will it have any effect on persons who have already achieved an apprenticeship qualification previously. We are launching a consultation today which will ask for evidence of the misuse of this term and comments on our plans to legislate to protect this. Whilst this legislation will not affect you, we would welcome your responses if you see it appropriate. The link to the consultation can be found here. Please get in touch with your relationship manager, or the apprenticeships legislation team if you have any queries.