Department for Education written question – answered on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Antony Higginbotham Antony Higginbotham Conservative, Burnley

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to encourage more young people to take up apprenticeships.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We have introduced a wide range of reforms to improve the quality of apprenticeships and to encourage employers across England to create more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.

From August 2020, all starts will be on the new apprenticeship standards which are replacing frameworks. Over 530 standards, designed and driven by industry, have already been approved for delivery. These high-quality standards are directly benefitting young apprentices as they allow them to gain transferable skills, knowledge and behaviours which are recognised by industry and to become fully competent in their chosen occupations.

We are working hard to encourage take-up of apprenticeships among young people. The first 2 phases of the Fire it Up campaign have targeted young people, parents and schools to improve the perception and take-up of apprenticeships by young people. The third phase of the Fire it Up campaign, which launched in January, will continue this work as well as targeting audience groups that contribute to widening participation in apprenticeships.

Our 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week took place in February. Nearly 900 events were held across the country, aiming to change perceptions of apprenticeships.

In January 2018, we introduced a legal requirement for schools to give training providers the chance to talk to pupils about technical qualifications and apprenticeships so that young people hear about the alternatives to academic routes.

We also offer a free service to schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge for Schools and Colleges (ASK) programme to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and support to enable them to promote apprenticeships to their students. In the last academic year, ASK reached over 300,000 students throughout England. We have recently extended the programme to include younger pupils in key stage 3 (years 7 to 9).

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