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Clause 2

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) (Skills) 5:45 pm, 5th February 2008

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising the issue of portability, which goes to the heart of our discussions on unitisation. We want vocational qualifications, for which individuals can do a unit, then  move to different parts of the country, or to different institutions, or—in relation to apprenticeships—between different providers and, sometimes, employers within the same sector. We are moving in that direction and running pilots until summer 2008. That is very much the direction of travel.

On completion rates, it is important to remember that the number of young people completing the full advanced apprenticeship framework has grown from 17,000 in 2001 to about 33,000 in 2006, which represents a significant increase. The hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings talked about companies such as Rolls-Royce, which represent the gold standard within the apprenticeship family, and he should recognise that those completion rates go to the heart of such things. Something else that is relevant to the hon. Gentleman’s question is the Government’s absolute commitment to quality. This is not just about being on an apprenticeship. Ten years ago, we were in a situation in which there were poor employers, little or no inspection, and training providers who did not take apprenticeships seriously. We have sought to root those bad employers and training providers out of the system. That has resulted in a reduction in their overall number, but I repeat that it is important to concentrate on completion rates, which are going in the right direction. In addition, we have undertaken an apprenticeship review, which the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings has broadly welcomed.