Apprenticeships, Social Mobility & Prepare to Achieve

Prepare to Achieve is committed to playing our role in creating a socially mobile society. But what does that mean, why does it matter for the apprenticeships sector, and how is it reflected in what we do? They are the questions this blog post seeks to answer.

What is social mobility?

The Social Mobility Commission says social mobility “is about ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to build a good life for themselves regardless of their family background. In a socially mobile society, every individual has a fair chance of reaching their potential.”

So in a socially mobile society, the background you are from – for example, if you are from a relatively poor family in a rural area – should not limit your ability to build a good life. In the best case scenario, you would have the same opportunities as anyone else to attain a high-paying, great quality job.

Social Mobility & Apprenticeships

The Government believes apprenticeships have a key role to play in creating a socially mobile society. As the Skills Minister said recently, “We want to give all young people a chance to make the most of their talents and create a better life for themselves. That’s exactly why we are committed to creating 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.”

How is the sector doing so far? Well, the Social Mobility Commission published a report in 2016 on apprenticeships, specifically covering their role in driving social mobility. Their report raised three concerns:

  1. Apprenticeship starts are rising too sluggishly, and the rise is being undermined by a declining success rate.
  2. The majority of young apprenticeship starts are not a step up from their past form of study.
  3. The sectors into which young people are entering on apprenticeships are disproportionately low pay sectors.

We agree with these concerns and want to see them addressed by those involved in the apprenticeships sector.

Our Role

So we want to play our role in driving change. There are three key ways in which social mobility influences what Prepare to Achieve does:

  1. We unashamedly promote and support the apprenticeship sector. We believe apprenticeships can be a great driver for social mobility, but they need to be promoted more widely and the benefits of them shared.
  2. We remove unnecessary barriers to End-Point Assessment. We believe that EPA, which makes apprenticeships more rigorous, is a good thing. But it can present some new barriers – for example, if a candidate needs to re-sit their assessment, high re-sit costs could result in them not achieving their apprenticeship. That’s why we have decided not to charge registration fees, nor re-sit fees, for apprentices, removing unnecessary barriers to EPA.
  3. We’re committed to providing EPA for apprentices throughout their training journey – from level 2 study to level 5. When the new standards are released at levels 4 and 5, Prepare to Achieve intend to deliver them. We want our user-friendly, social mobility-driven model of EPA to be available for apprentices throughout their training journey.

Further reading.

More information on social mobility and apprenticeships can be found in the following documents:

A Spotlight on Apprenticeships & Social Mobility

State of the Nation 2017

Social Mobility Commission on Apprenticeships

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