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Apprenticeships to last for a new minimum of 12 months

03 April 2012 #Employment

Skills Minister John Hayes has announced a minimum duration of 12 months for all apprenticeships, guaranteeing improvements in training and workplace learning.

From August 2012, the new standards will come into force for all age groups, as a further measure to drive up equality. This will be subject to consultation with providers and employers. Unless prior learning or attainment has been recorded, apprenticeships will last between one to four years for those aged 19 and over. Apprenticeships will last a minimum of 12 months without exception for those aged between 16-18 years.

Full details of Mr Hayes’s announcement are available here.

This announcement comes after an attempt to ensure every apprenticeship meets the rigorous standards apprentices and employers expect. It builds upon a series of major reforms announced in recent months to drive up quality and standards.

These include:

  • National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and the Skills Funding Agency’s comprehensive review of all short duration programmes has already resulted in important improvements to many apprenticeships and the withdrawal of inadequate sub-contracted provisions.
  • In an attempt to strengthen monitoring, reporting and subcontracting arrangements, new safeguards are being put in place. This includes requiring subcontractors to be regulated through the Register of Training Organisations in the same fashion as prime contractors
  • New contracts will ensure that training providers not only act according to regulations, but also within the spirit of the apprenticeship programme.

A new ‘enquiry panel’ has been established, to manage poor quality providers as soon as they are reported. The panel will be reporting directly to the Minister. Furthermore a new grant will be made available to encourage small and medium sized businesses to take on apprentices. Small and medium sized businesses (employing less than 250 employees), that recruit their first apprentice aged 16 to 24 years, will be offered up to 40,000 Apprenticeship Grants by the NAS, to the value of £1,500. Details of the announcement on better standards for apprenticeship including details of grants available for small businesses employing their first apprentice, can be found here.

The announcements come as BBC’s Panorama reported on a lack of scrutiny of apprentice firms on Monday, if you missed the show further details are available on the BBC`s website 

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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