Response to ‘Fit for the future: Growing and sustaining engineering and technology apprenticeships
Lords Knight and Willetts led an inquiry, in partnership with Engineering UK, to uncover the reasons behind the decline in engineering, manufacturing and technology apprenticeships starts seen over recent years in the UK. The Call for Evidence sought evidence on:
- The role of apprenticeships in meeting the UK’s skills needs in Engineering and Technology,
- The reasons for the decline in apprenticeships,
- Barriers for businesses and young people considering apprenticeships, and
- Solutions to increase the number and diversity of young people entering Engineering and Technology apprenticeships.
Enginuity provided a response to the Call for Evidence recommending that the sector engage with seven points of focus for England to improve the quality of and access to Engineering and Manufacturing (E&M) apprenticeships:
- Respect for technical skills,
- Leveling up,
- Energising the Levy,
- Data is King,
- Opening doors,
- Fair wage for all, and
- Essential skills.
In order to reach these conclusions, Enginuity:
- Set out the opportunities for the sector which apprenticeships offer,
- Narrated the history of E&M apprenticeships from 2014/15 to 2021/22, using data drawn from the Department for Education,
- Explored possible reasons for the decline in E&M apprenticeship numbers, and
- Described the barriers faced by E&M businesses in taking on an apprentice and the barriers faced by young people in taking an E&M apprenticeship.
Among the key barriers Enginuity noted were:
- A leaky pipeline for apprenticeships and vocational education,
- Inadequate engagement with underrepresented groups,
- Failings in the apprenticeship recruitment system,
- The restrictive role of the apprenticeship levy, and
- Learning difficulties and disabilities.
The findings of the Inquiry are due to be published in September 2023.