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Fewer young people in work-based learning


The latest release from the Office of National Statistics shows that the numbers taking part in Work-Based Learning for Young People (WBLYP) have fallen. WBLYP comprises Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (AMA), Foundation Modern Apprenticeships (FMA) and Other Training (OT).

Key findings
- Starts for the whole programme in the financial year to 23 December 2001 are 7% down on the same period in 2000-01. Even allowing for a change in definition in 2001-02, starts on AMA are at least 10% lower for this period.

- Numbers in learning in 2001-02 have been 25,000 lower on average than in 2000-01. At the end of December 2001, the number of people in learning was 13,000 lower than a year earlier.

- While labour market outcomes following AMA and FMA have been stable for several years, the proportion unemployed following Other Training has risen since 1997-98.

2 Responses

  1. the product of New Labour political correctness
    The fall in those in work-based vocational training is much to be regretted.

    It is however a direct and predictable consequence of the government’s policy in respect of the National Minimum Wage, which has set high minimum rates of pay for young people in training. Bad employers are in effect being encouraged to exploit the system and sack young trainees at the end of the first year of training when the National Minimum Wage kicks in.

    Good employers will not be willing to take this approach. However they will understand the commercial reality, which is that the minimum pay rules are forcing young people into the same labour market as experienced adults. Because the employer is expected to pay the trainee minimum wage for time spent training, on a day release basis, it can end up costing the employer MORE per hour worked to employ a trainee than it would to employ an experienced person. Neither the employer nor the trainee have any choice in the matter.

    If ever there was a policy DESIGNED to create have’s and have-not’s, this is it. The problem is particularly acute in low wage rural areas such as the far south-west, which probably explains why New Labour doesn’t seem to care about it. The practical effect is to deny young people their first real experience of the world of work, forcing on them the alternative of full time training and state dependency – where, as it happens, the state will pay them considerably less than the minimum wage!

    As a supporter of the National Minimum Wage, I say this: unless or until government recognises this problem, abandons political correctness and radically overhauls the minimum pay regulations for young people and trainees, then the problem is only going to get worse.

  2. Work based learning & NMW
    If we are to establish parity of esteem between WBL and other options available at 16+, it is essential that we offer young people a quality route, ie. high standards of training with decent rates of pay. All our trainees are employed-status from day one, and enjoy the same rights and conditions as other staff in their placement – which provides a strong incentive for the young person and the employer to work together to achieve the Modern Apprenticeship outcomes…and as for bad employers – why use them in the first place?


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