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Habia responds to Richard Review on Apprenticeships

Posted: Friday 30 November 2012

Habia has welcomed the findings of the Richard Review on Apprenticeships.

Published on 27 November 2012, the Review calls for Apprenticeships to be redefined so that they are only targeted at those who are new to a job or role that requires sustained or substantial training, and for there to be an increased focus on the outcome rather than the process.

Other key proposals included independent assessment, recognised industry standards for every Apprenticeship, better methods of funding to encourage more employers to get involved, and more diversity and innovation in training.

Andrew Darby, Habia Deputy CEO, said, "We broadly welcome the findings of Doug Richard in his report. Much of his thinking is in line with what we have been arguing consistently for the last few years, namely the devolving of Apprenticeships back to employers and the employer-led bodies that support them.

We have seen too much centralisation in Apprenticeships, which has made the process too remote, too complex and has pushed us towards a 'one-size-fits-all' approach that doesn't actually fit our sector. In short, Apprenticeships have become too distant from employers in individual industries, and the proposals will be liberating for employers and employer-led bodies like Habia in equal measure by providing greater industry-specific flexibility."

He continued, "We also support the introduction of a better funding system. Small businesses listen to their accountants and HMRC, so will be more aware of an Apprenticeship programme based on tax credits rather than an initiative launched through Facebook. If the Chancellor is so inclined in the autumn statement, he has the power to boost both Apprenticeship take-up and completion-to-advanced-level rates by introducing the tax incentives proposed."

Habia believes much of what is proposed is already being delivered, or easily can be with modest changes. This includes:
  • Apprenticeships designed by employers (within Government requirements) that contain a substantial amount of knowledge and skills needed by new entrants - Habia already works closely with employer groups, forums and associations to ensure this happens
  • An outcome based on Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships
  • Apprenticeships that last more than 12 months - Habia won an important victory recently by insisting to the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) that no Apprenticeships be less than this
  • Reducing the number of qualifications within Apprenticeship frameworks - Habia successfully fought off attempts by government to add 'technical certificates' to Apprenticeship frameworks as the NVQs, developed by Habia with employers, already met industry requirements
  • Offsite delivery
  • Verifiers independent of the delivery organisation
  • Achievement of Functional Skills at Level 2.
Darby added, "The only substantial change would be the introduction of mandatory graded end tests. These are already under development by sector specialist awarding organisation VTCT and will allow apprentices to demonstrate all they have learnt in all the units of their qualification. These are already scheduled to be available for September 2013.

We look forward to the government's response, and to working with employers and employer organisations in our sector to deliver the type of Apprenticeships we have been arguing for."

Launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Education (DfE), the review was led by serial entrepreneur, early investor and Dragon's Den star Doug Richard.

Conducted between June and September 2012, the review aimed to look at the medium-term future of Apprenticeships in England, identify best practice, and ensure that Apprenticeships meet the needs for employers, learners and the wider economy.

Quotes of support for Habia:

"Apprenticeships are absolutely vital in our industry and to Britain as a whole. They give learners the skills needed to carve out successful careers and we see first hand how beneficial Apprenticeships are to the thousands of people we train. Dimensions fully supports Habia in its determined work to promote and support Apprenticeships."
Andy Heseltine, Chief Executive, Dimensions 

"As a prospective Apprenticeship provider, I have found Habia's support invaluable in trying to understand what is at times an extremely complex and frustrating process."
George Hammer

"We believe ongoing education is fundamental at every stage of a hairdresser's career. Gaining expertise and developing the craft of hairdressing is crucial to success. Habia provides an excellent service to the hairdresser in supporting the maintenance of standards."
Anthony Mascolo

"LHAA has joined Habia as we believe that we can inspire our learners, together with our delivery of hairdressing skills by giving them a wider spectrum of the industry. Therefore, as we grow we will benefit from our membership and support from Habia as the industry's lead body."
London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy

"The importance of good training and support is paramount to the success of the hairdresser and with these elements in mind I am proud to associate myself with Habia. They are the industry experts in support for hairdressers and hairdressing businesses in the UK and over the years they have helped many hairdressers to achieve excellence in their chosen profession".
Patrick Cameron


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