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More apprenticeships is a good thing—but it’s time to look at the quality

Lots more young people are starting apprenticeships, but too few progress to the higher levels in the system

By Lee Elliot Major  

Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/PA Images

After many years of neglect, it has been heartening to see the government’s recent focus on apprenticeships. It says that it wants to see three million more by 2020 and in April of this year introduced a levy, so any employer with of wage bill of over £3m has to pay 0.5 per cent towards training for apprenticeships.

Still, too often in the UK vocational qualifications are seen as “second best,” while in countries like Germany and Switzerland, as I have seen first-hand, apprenticeships have…

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