22nd February 2017

Apprenticeships for Northern Growth: Challenges, trends and current reforms

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published a new report for Pearson, Apprenticeships for Northern Growth: Challenges, trends and current reforms. This report provides an overview of recent trends, key challenges and current reforms to apprenticeships, drawing on the CBI/Pearson’s Education and Skills Survey 2016.

Launched in February at the second UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition in Manchester, this report is topical given the longstanding skills and productivity challenges set out in the Northern Powerhouse Strategy.

You can read the report in full here.

Key Findings
  • As set out in the Government Northern Powerhouse Strategy, the region faces a shortfall in productivity compared to other areas, with a skills gap emerging before individuals leave school – as seen by lower levels of attainment by the end of secondary school. Despite this, northern employers report similar, if not better, perceptions of the skills of school leavers.
  • The North has a disproportionate number of apprenticeships starts – 36 per cent of all starts in England despite representing 23 per cent of the working age population.
  • With higher levels of public employment in the North compared to other regions, the North may be especially affected by the Government’s new public sector apprenticeships target.
  • As in the rest of the country, there is significant uncertainty among Northern employers about the likely effects of the Apprenticeship Levy. When northern employers were asked about the likely impact of the Levy:
    • 47 per cent expected it to create new apprenticeship programmes;
    • 28 per cent expected a decrease in graduate recruitment; and,
    • 39 per cent anticipated reductions in other forms of training that were not apprenticeships.