Press release

Bogus training courses come under fire

Dodgy training providers who promise fake apprenticeships face prosecution under new government reforms.

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  • students offered fake apprenticeships – later to find out they are unqualified
  • government crackdown on dodgy providers and bogus training courses
  • businesses and training providers support government crackdown

A family firm of electricians in Milton Keynes and the building company Balfour Beatty told a government consultation they found students being lured into apprenticeships which offered low-level training. At the end of the training programme the students were severely underqualified and were not in a real job.

The cases came to light as the government introduces new powers to prosecute training providers misusing the term ‘apprenticeship’. In the future, anyone offering fake or low-quality apprenticeships training could face the possibility of a fine and prosecution in a Magistrates Court. The government is committed to giving apprenticeships similar legal protection as university degrees.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

Everyone knows what a university degree means. It’s an official title. Young people doing apprenticeships should get the same level of distinction.

I’m supporting working people by defining the word ‘apprenticeship’ in law. This will ensure people get the best training and opportunities.

Balfour Beatty, who currently recruits approximately 150 apprentices a year, welcomed the protection.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive said:

Protecting and enhancing apprenticeships as proposed by the government’s Enterprise Bill will further build the status of apprenticeships and help to encourage business to invest in them.

Our industry needs talent and skills, therefore it is crucial that apprenticeships remain world-class so that we can continue to attract the best and brightest individuals.

SJD Electrical, a family-run business in Milton Keynes, also welcomed the proposals, highlighting the negative impact of low-quality training courses.

Ruth Devine, Director at SJD Electrical said:

Protecting the term ‘apprenticeship’ will help us attract the most able individuals and offer a guarantee to apprentices that they will receive world-class training.

A number of applicants applying for jobs at SJD who thought they had completed apprenticeships, were surprised to find that they were not fully qualified. Low quality training courses contribute to the many instances of poor workmanship we come across.

Apprenticeships have proven crucial to provide businesses with the talent and skills they need to grow and the government is committed to supporting 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

Notes to editors:

  1. The government ran a consultation on protecting the term ‘apprenticeship’ from 29 July 2015 to 19 August 2015. The consultation was sent to over 500 key stakeholders and was put on the gov.uk and Citizen Space websites.
  2. Over 90 responses were received from a wide variety of interested parties including employers, private training providers, colleges, schools, universities, apprentices and representative groups.
  3. The government response to the consultation will be published on Monday 21 September 2015.
  4. Examples of the apprenticeship term being misused include:
    • students thinking they had completed an apprenticeship but actually had only taken a low-level technical qualification
    • students having to find other employers to continue to achieve the qualifications required to complete a full apprenticeship
    • employers finding students entering the industry only part-qualified and without adequate learning, work-based experience and practical skills
  5. Measures to protect the term ‘apprenticeship’ are contained in the Enterprise Bill. The Enterprise Bill was introduced to the House of Lords on 16 September 2015.
  6. The measures do not affect companies who offer their own high-quality internal apprenticeship scheme.
Published 20 September 2015