Commenting on Putting Apprenticeships to Work for Young People, a new research report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“We already knew that the reformed apprenticeship programme had landed badly in terms of new starts, across the apprenticeship landscape, but this report lays bare the disproportionate impact those reforms are having on younger apprentices, particularly those from deprived backgrounds. 

“The NEU supports proposals to help young people access apprenticeship programmes. Young people benefit enormously from apprenticeships, enabling them to progress to higher level apprenticeships in sectors where their skills will be needed in the future. 

“It is imperative that these young people are helped to stay on apprenticeships. The report highlights that Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) have been impacted disproportionately during the pandemic, meaning that young apprentices have been either furloughed or made redundant. The proposal that there should be a separate budget for younger apprentices so that government can focus more closely on their needs is very welcome.”