The Enterprise and Business Committee
undertook an inquiry into Apprenticeships in Wales. The terms of reference for
the inquiry were:
- is the current apprenticeship system providing effective support to
the Welsh economy?
- is the current apprenticeship system meeting the current and future
skills needs of employers in Wales? If not, what needs to be improved?
- with increased priority on apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds, are
apprenticeships an attractive option for young people?
- do the systems for establishing Apprenticeship Standards and
Frameworks and recruiting apprentices work effectively?
Issues that the Committee
considered as part of these terms of reference included:
- how effective is employer involvement in the apprenticeship system
in Wales? Has this changed as a result of the current economic
circumstances? Are employers able to find sufficient numbers of young
people with the skills and aptitudes that they require? Do relationships
between employers and training providers work effectively? Are
apprenticeships still limited to certain sectors?
- do social enterprises make effective use of apprentices?
- has the number of apprentices employed by local authorities, and the
public sector generally, increased or decreased? Should the public sector
be recruiting more apprentices?
- the Welsh Government is encouraging Community Benefits clauses in
public sector contracts which can be used to promote the employment of
trainees and apprenticeships. Is this an effective mechanism for
increasing the numbers of apprentices?
- what is the average profile of an apprentice, for example age,
gender, employment sector? Is this profile changing and, if yes, what are
the reasons for this? The National Training Federation for Wales reports
that the average age for an apprentice is 26. What are the reasons for
this? Are apprenticeships generally successful from the perspective of the
apprentice? Have apprenticeship completion rates changed in recent years?
In practice, are apprentices guaranteed a job at the end of the
- do Careers Wales and Jobcentre Plus provide effective support for
people wanting to find apprenticeships? Does the new Apprenticeship
Matching Service, run by Careers Wales, work effectively?
- why do young people decide to be apprentices? What factors influence
- are apprenticeships an attractive option for young people of all
abilities or are apprenticeships seen as a second best option compared
with higher education? Are attitudes changing and if yes, what are the
reasons for this?
- are apprenticeships fully understood by those who have most
influence on the choices of young people for example parents/carers,
careers teachers in schools, teachers generally? Is there too much complexity
and choice of programme?
- how effective is Welsh Government policy on apprenticeships? How
does its policy of apprenticeships fit into its wider economic and skills
- education and training, including apprenticeships are devolved
matters, but employment law is not. Do young people have sufficient rights
and access to apprenticeship training? If not, how could the situation be
- are the Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) promoting and supporting
apprenticeships effectively? How does the capacity of SSCs affect their
performance in this area?
- is European funding being used to support apprenticeships
- are there examples of good practice apprenticeship systems in other
countries that Wales can learn from?