Inquiry into apprenticeships in Wales

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?


Key issues

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 apprenticeship?
  • 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 their decision?
  • 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 strategies?
  • 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 improved?
  • 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 effectively?
  • are there examples of good practice apprenticeship systems in other countries that Wales can learn from?

Business type: Committee Inquiry

Status: Complete

First published: 12/02/2014





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