Dodgy training providers who promise fake apprenticeships face prosecution under new Government reforms.
A family firm of electricians in Milton Keynes and the building company Balfour Beatty told a Government consultation they found students being lured into apprenticeships which offered low-level training.
At the end of the training programme the students were severely underqualified and were not in a real job.
The cases came to light as the Government introduces new powers to prosecute training providers misusing the term ‘apprenticeship’.
In the future, anyone offering fake or low-quality apprenticeships training could face the possibility of a fine and prosecution in a Magistrates Court. The Government is committed to giving apprenticeships similar legal protection as university degrees.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “Everyone knows what a university degree means. It’s an official title. Young people doing apprenticeships should get the same level of distinction.
“I’m supporting working people by defining the word ‘apprenticeship’ in law. This will ensure people get the best training and opportunities.”
Balfour Beatty, who currently recruits approximately 150 apprentices a year, welcomed the protection.
Balfour Beatty Group chief executive, Leo Quinn commented: “Protecting and enhancing apprenticeships as proposed by the Government’s Enterprise Bill will further build the status of apprenticeships and help to encourage business to invest in them.
“Our industry needs talent and skills, therefore it is crucial that apprenticeships remain world-class so that we can continue to attract the best and brightest individuals.”
SJD Electrical, a family-run business in Milton Keynes, also welcomed the proposals, highlighting the negative impact of low-quality training courses.
Ruth Devine, director at SJD Electrical said: “Protecting the term ‘apprenticeship’ will help us attract the most able individuals and offer a guarantee to apprentices that they will receive world-class training.
“A number of applicants applying for jobs at SJD who thought they had completed apprenticeships, were surprised to find that they were not fully qualified. Low quality training courses contribute to the many instances of poor workmanship we come across.”
Apprenticeships have proven crucial to provide businesses with the talent and skills they need to grow and the Government is committed to supporting three million new apprenticeships by 2020.