• "Apprenticeships transform lives." Robert Halfon, MP, answers student questions on apprenticeships

    9
    Published on 30-01-2017 16:30
    So what's the deal with apprenticeships?


    At the start of 2017, The Student Room was invited to Westminster to talk to a man who should know: Robert Halfon MP, minister of state for apprenticeships and skills.

    His brief covers everything from apprenticeships to careers advice to sixth-form colleges. We took an armful of your questions from the forums, along with sixth form student Tom Anson to ask them. Here's what the minister had to say.



    More on TSR:

    All about apprenticeships

    How to get a degree from your apprenticeship

    Education secretary Justine Greening talks to The Student Room


    Questions asked in this interview with Robert Halfon MP.


    "Is there a danger that the target of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 puts you under so much pressure that thousands of schemes will be allowed to start when they haven't been properly checked?"

    asked by: latespiderorchid
    Is there any evidence that apprenticeships are worthwhile? For example, do you have any stats on the average salary of people who have completed their apprenticeship? How does that compare to graduate salaries?

    asked by: PQ
    Many students see apprenticeships as an option for students do who aren't capable of taking a more academic route. What can you do to improve the reputation of apprenticeships?

    asked by: latespiderorchid
    Why is the minimum wage for apprentices so low? Is the government subsidising low wage employment?

    asked by: PQ
    If you were at school now, would you have done an apprenticeship?

    asked by: JollyKingfisher
    A lot of FE colleges no longer offer A-levels, and many are now reducing the number of access courses they offer. How can you help people who want to study academic subjects at college/university but are too old to attend sixth form?

    asked by: Snufkin
    Too many students leave secondary school with no idea what they want to do, where they want to be, or what they should be studying. Often they are simply not aware of the great diversity of roles out there that are possible. What can you do to improve careers education in schools?

    asked by: Eboracum
    You want to create opportunities for academic students in grammar schools, but what about everyone else? What technical and vocational education will you provide in schools and colleges, especially considering the shortage of UK engineers?

    asked by: James813
    The average sixth form college pays over £300,000 a year in VAT which it can't claim back. At the same time there aren't enough text books to go round the class. Schools can claim VAT back - why can't sixth form colleges?

    asked by: latespiderorchid
    What do you think of the answers given by Robert Halfon? Who would you like to see interviewed next? Let us know in the comments.

    9 Comments

    1. shooks's Avatar shooks 31-01-2017
      latespiderorchid PQ JollyKingfisher Snufkin Eboracum james813 - thanks for posting questions for this interview, folks!
    1. Snufkin's Avatar Snufkin 31-01-2017
      Ugh, what a slippery fellow - he didn't answer my question! The minister said his government had introduced Advanced Learner Loans to help adults returning to education pay for courses, but that's of no use at all if FE colleges don't offer the courses adults want to do. Where is Andrew Neil when you need him?
    1. 999tigger's Avatar 999tigger 31-01-2017
      Apprenticeship targets 'poor value for money', says IFS

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38798305
      The think tank warns that it could devalue the "brand" of apprenticeships by turning it into "just another term for training"...... But the report warns the government has "failed to make a convincing case for such a large and rapid expansion in apprenticeships" and warns of "wildly optimistic" claims for how much extra earnings could be generated by the investment in apprentices.

      Quality varis massively and some of them are just cheap labour.
    1. drbluebox's Avatar drbluebox 01-02-2017
      It's cheap labour thats all it is and nothing else, I always have a laugh at the stupidity on the adverts which shows a young man with a expensive car acting like its a life of luxury and its anything but making tea for higher ups.
    1. TSR_Rob's Avatar TSR_Rob 08-02-2017
      (Original post by drbluebox)
      It's cheap labour thats all it is and nothing else, I always have a laugh at the stupidity on the adverts which shows a young man with a expensive car acting like its a life of luxury and its anything but making tea for higher ups.
      I'd be interested in knowing if you have ever explored, or experienced, any of the apprenticeships advertised? Cheap labour isn't something I've ever seen - having worked with apprentices for a few years I experienced the opposite.
      I would be interested in understanding if your view is based on experience, or perceptions of others and adverts.
    1. brainzistheword's Avatar brainzistheword 10-02-2017
      Interesting interview well done to everyone involved
    1. drbluebox's Avatar drbluebox 10-02-2017
      (Original post by TSR_Rob)
      I'd be interested in knowing if you have ever explored, or experienced, any of the apprenticeships advertised? Cheap labour isn't something I've ever seen - having worked with apprentices for a few years I experienced the opposite.
      I would be interested in understanding if your view is based on experience, or perceptions of others and adverts.
      Experience including getting a interview for a nmw job, being turned down at interview but offered word for word same job but as a apprentice.
    1. brainzistheword's Avatar brainzistheword 11-02-2017
      (Original post by drbluebox)
      It's cheap labour thats all it is and nothing else, I always have a laugh at the stupidity on the adverts which shows a young man with a expensive car acting like its a life of luxury and its anything but making tea for higher ups.
      (Original post by TSR_Rob)
      I'd be interested in knowing if you have ever explored, or experienced, any of the apprenticeships advertised? Cheap labour isn't something I've ever seen - having worked with apprentices for a few years I experienced the opposite.
      I would be interested in understanding if your view is based on experience, or perceptions of others and adverts.
      I don't think every apprenticeship should be tarnished with the brush that they are 'cheap labour' as some are definitely well worth the application and a viable, if not better route than traditional A-levels or Uni. Of course, there may be some smaller apprenticeships out there that do impact the reputation these schemes get, but it is no longer a case in the majority.
    1. TSR_Rob's Avatar TSR_Rob 13-02-2017
      (Original post by drbluebox)
      Experience including getting a interview for a nmw job, being turned down at interview but offered word for word same job but as a apprentice.
      You should consider checking with The National Apprenticeship Service on this. Depending on the entry skills required for the job I would say an apprenticeship should be a completely different job specification.
      There should be an accredited qualification & time in college/with a training provider or University. They aren't a low pay alternative to a normal job.

      Please do consider reporting this to The National Apprenticeship Service if you feel this was offered as a "cheap labour route" - I know NAS are working hard to make sure apprenticeships aren't confused with anything else.

This is a sample of the apprenticeship vacancies available – for a full set of vacancies go to the all apprenticeship vacancies page.

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