Manufacturing Standpoints


Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivering his spending review in the House of Commons, 25 November 2020 They will waste soul-destroying time forced to prove they are applying for scores of non-existent jobs. They are allowed to train for part of the week, but not enough. Extensive research by Kathleen Henehan of the Resolution Foundation shows “a strong association between training and returning to work, particularly among non-graduates”, and for people to change industry, “only full-time education has a substantial relationship with the likelihood of a 25- to 59-year-old making a career change”. Crucially, but ignored by the government: “Longer and qualification-bearing training is strongly associated with job re-entry among non-graduates.” The government’s apprenticeship programme was already in freefall pre-pandemic, creating only a fraction of its target of 3 million apprentices. On top of that, the figures for April and May this year are down 85% on 2019, FE Week has found. It was a good idea to make large employers pay a levy, to be reclaimed for apprenticeships – but as in so many previous training schemes, employers gamed it. Fewer than a quarter of apprenticeships went to under-19s, for whom it was intended. Money was spent instead on existing in-house training that was so minimal workers didn’t even know they had been designated apprentices. Many firms were so resistant to training, they preferred to let the Treasury take the levy, so the chancellor’s extra £2,000 to employers to take apprentices in this crisis related site hasn’t worked. Training and work schemes using private providers have often been gamed and sometimes defrauded: Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds warns of them cherry-picking easy cases in the Restart scheme. David Hughes, the head of the Association of Colleges, says: “There is no indication Restart includes any training.” And nor does it create jobs, which is what’s most needed.