Nov 16

The removal of Apprenticeship learning at Level 2 is not fit for social care

Posted on Thursday 10th November 2016

The removal of Apprenticeship learning at Level 2 is not fit for social care

By Rob Newby, Programme Head of Standards, Learning, Qualifications and Apprenticeships at Skills for Care

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) have today published a report calling for the removal of Apprenticeship learning at Intermediate level (Level 2) for 16-18 year olds; citing that learning is better achieved at this level through full time college provision.

This is not the case for those apprentices and their employers in adult social care where our 19,300 employers and 1.4 million workers mainly in SMEs have a strong commitment to Level 2 Apprenticeship learning for this age group and in a sector which last year saw over 95,000 Apprenticeship starts across the sector at all levels.

For social care Level 2 learning is an appropriate starting point for the development of skills and competence in working with and supporting a wide range of people in communities and our employers are committed to social mobility and social justice for their employees. Many workers within the sector are able to advance their careers to level 3 and beyond into management thanks to a clear career and apprenticeship advancement system across both social care and health.

The attainment of practical application of maths and English is vitally important for our sector but many having struggled through the schools system in these areas need the additional support offered by employers and Apprenticeship learning providers to achieve, and can do so in a real working environment which both supports and sets context for achievement.

Skills for Care is fully committed to a system which addresses the recruitment and skills shortages facing the sector and which supports a growing market for employment and learning and feel that apprenticeship learning at all levels is the way to achieve this. The governments ‘one-size fits all’ approach is not always helpful in addressing employers’ needs, supporting young people into employment and supporting the needs of those who access care and support.

In an arena where at the moment change and lack of clarity in policy is the norm another note of caution should be sounded in yet another proposed amendment to the current system. What experience has told us is that employers will disengage from a system in flux, and what is needed now is some stability in Apprenticeships.

There is a place for all types of learning to be successful for the 16-18 age group and for some young people a college based route will be the most appropriate, but please do not take away the opportunity to play a full and active part in the world of work and have the opportunity to acquire and develop new skills through Level 2 apprenticeships for those young people who add much value to our workforce.