I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was asked to give evidence at the House of Commons Select Committee on Apprenticeship Reforms.

If you look at 5th paragraph on the left, you will see that I was more than concerned about the reforms (including the levy) having a big impact on the number of apprenticeships being taken up by employers and a squeeze in opportunities for young people.

I clearly remember being stopped in my tracks by the chair of the committee for asking too many questions and probably being too passionate / angry / frustrated, but I did feel that at that moment apprenticeships in the U.K. were at a turning point.

I’m disappointed to read in an article by TES in the U.K. (below) that, this is exactly what is happening.

  • 16% drop in apprenticeships in just 1 year!
  • 70 per cent of businesses offered an apprenticeship in 2018 – down from 83 per cent in 2017. 
  • more than half experienced difficulty in recruiting apprentices or are expecting to do so within the next three years.
  • Business engagement with young people in education also reduced, from 81 per cent in 2017 to 75 per cent in 2018.

The headline of “Business is pulling out of apprenticeships” sends shivers down my spine!


With this trend of decline, and the demise of many U.K. apprenticeship companies over the past 18 months, I do hope that something is done to re-invigorate apprenticeships in my home country.

I was involved in the U.K. apprenticeship market from the mid 90’s until 2015 and witnessed all of the turmoil it went through with change after change in the name of growth, and it would be a real shame if the U.K. providers, and the government loose the fruits of all that hard work.

I will watch from across the Atlantic with one eye, but keeping all my focus on Apprenticeship development here in the US.

I am starting to feel some of the ghosts of the past creep into the system in the name of growth here too, but all I can do, is just keep my focus on developing high quality Registered apprenticeships that we can be proud of, and hope that here on the USA the policy, movers and shakers learn from what has happened and is happening around the world, so that we can at least steer our way around the challenges that others have had to face.

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