Another reason to choose an apprenticeship at 16?Posted: 22nd of January 2015 by
The report on 16 – 18 year old participation in education and training published by the Committee of Public Accounts highlights some real concerns.
In 2010 the responsibility for providing impartial careers advice moved to schools. The loss of the Connexions service with no transfer of funds to schools has raised a number of issues. Ofsted findings report that only 12 in 60 schools are providing adequate careers advice and although it is a statutory duty, many question the impartiality of schools that have a vested interested in retaining pupils for funding purposes. In addition to this, there have been concerns raised about the knowledge of the breadth of educational routes that staff have, with many pointing to the fact that teaching staff will have travelled the academic route and may lack a full and correct understanding of alternative routes, such as vocational apprenticeships – all this at a time when the government is committed to improving the number of apprenticeships.
The participation age was raised by Government as a method of increasing engagement with education and training for young people and reducing the number of young people who are not in employment, education or training. However, this decision is not supported by enforcement provisions and instead the Government rely on persuasion and the introduction of initiatives, such as the Youth Contract, which although it has helped around 10,000 young people re-engage with education and training, will not recruit any more from March 2015 and which will end in 2016, at which time, it is anticipated that it will only have assisted 50 % of the originally predicted number of young people.
In addition to the above, the RPA creates a tension between local authority budgetary constraints and increased participation. This is because travel costs for under-16s are covered whilst many local authorities do not help 16 – 18 year olds with their travel costs resulting in a post code driven, brute luck lottery. There are bursaries available to young people and are intended to help with the purchase of resources, such as text books as well and travel costs. However, the average bursary is £445 per year and in some authorities’, the cost of travel is £500 per year, leaving nothing for other resources, which are arguably essential to academic success. For many the answer to the necessity to remain in education or training will lie with an apprenticeship, where they will be able to earn whilst they learn.
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