Commenting on Equalising access to apprenticeships, a new report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:    

"NFER are right to call on the Government to provide financial incentives for training providers and employers to encourage them to take on young people without grade 4 or above in GCSE English and maths (or the equivalent) and support them to achieve this level.    

"The NEU believes that financially incentivising training providers and employers would go a long way to helping young people into employment and training. At this time of spiralling cost of living, the low wages that are currently offered to young apprentices are simply not enough, and this needs to be addressed. In some cases, young apprentices can't afford to travel to the workplace and subsist on the wages they are paid.   

"The NFER are also right to highlight that the apprenticeship reforms over the last decade have led to a substantial decline in the number of intermediate and advanced apprenticeships started, and that the impact of this decline has particularly affected young people from disadvantaged communities. Steps need to be taken, as this report highlights, to encourage young people to take up apprenticeships, by looking to change both the entry requirements and the funding."