In this report we explore how apprenticeship training can be used as an essential tool to support social mobility. Utilising key reports from The Social Mobility Commission and the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network we review the status of the government’s efforts to improve access to training and how apprenticeships can not only support this goal but provide great benefits to employers as well. We review our own apprenticeship data and look at a real case example of where an apprenticeship has provided a true career path for one of our Greene King apprentices.
Impact of COVID19
The impact of COVID19 has been felt on a multitude of levels, including our job market. With widespread closures in many industries, especially within hospitality and retail, there has been great concern for job security.
Many are worried about the increased impact this will have on our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, with those looking to access work and training more highly impacted. The Guardian released an article in October 2020 that stated how “coronavirus has worsened Britain’s unlevel playing field…The twin drivers of low social mobility – economic and educational inequality – are on the rise. This is bad news for future social mobility.” - Only radical reform can fix Britain's broken ladder of social mobility, The Guardian.
Within the apprenticeship sector, this is also felt as “disadvantaged apprentices are at a disproportionate risk of paying the most severe consequences of [barriers to entry]. They are disproportionately employed in sectors that have been [highly impacted], such as hospitality and retail.” - Apprenticeships and Social Mobility Report. June 2020. Page 12.
With many large employers pledging to support and improve social mobility, and many seeing real business benefits in having a more diverse workforce there is an opportunity to reduce this inequality.
In this report we will explore how apprenticeship training can support social mobility and consider how recruiting a more diverse workforce can provide true business and individual benefits.
As a clarification, in this report we are going to use the definition that The Social Mobility Commission use for ‘disadvantaged’ apprentices.
“Apprentices originating from the 20% most deprived English neighbourhoods as disadvantaged. Individuals living in disadvantaged areas are younger, more likely to be from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds, and are more likely to be affected by some form of disability than learners from non-disadvantaged areas 3” - Apprenticeships and Social Mobility Report. June 2020. Page 20.
Overview of apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are work-based learning programmes where apprentices can earn while they learn. The introduction of the apprenticeship levy in 2017, and the reform from Frameworks to Standards, means there are now over 400 apprenticeship standards available, so most industries in England have access to apprenticeship training.
Apprenticeship Standards develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the apprentice and are aligned to their job role. They have been developed through employer trailblazer groups to ensure they are role and industry relevant and can offer a standardised approach to a nationally recognised qualification.
There are levels 2 to 7 available, with each programme being a minimum of 12 months in length. At the end of each apprenticeship there is an End-point Assessment period where the apprentice sits assessments to gain a pass, merit or distinction.
Apprenticeships focus on embedding training, developing a self-development philosophy and aim to stretch and grow the apprentice’s ability so they become the best they can be in their role and prepared for their next career opportunity.
Apprenticeship training can be incredibly beneficial to businesses, boosting essential training, offering new opportunities and increase employee engagement.