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Despite doubts, the government are right about apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

2-minute read

Anna Delves

31 January 2017

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The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) today said that the government's apprenticeship target could prove to be ‘poor value for money’, but Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers and former apprentice himself, says the government are headed in the right direction.

The government’s plan for apprenticeships

Last year, the government stated that the term ‘apprentice’ would be protected in law, and committed to creating 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

To fund this, an ‘apprenticeship levy’ has been brought in, where certain employers pay an extra 0.5% tax but can receive subsidies for hiring apprentices.

The move was designed to tackle youth unemployment and ensure that those who did not want or were not able to earn a bachelor's degree could have an equivalent form of qualification that would set them up for their career.

Doubts from the IFS

Today the IFS released a report suggesting that the government's scheme could backfire, and said that the initiative could be “poor value for money”.

According to the IFS, increasing the number of apprentices so rapidly could devalue the “brand” of apprenticeships and turn it into “just another term for training”, despite the government’s pledges and commitments.

However, Neil Amin-Smith who co-wrote the report, says there is a “desperate need” to improve vocational training in the UK, especially considering the government’s industrial strategy.

Charlie’s take on the matter

For Charlie Mullins, apprenticeships are the best way to give young people both the training and the qualifications they need to take forward in life.

“I’m a great advocate for apprenticeships,” he said when speaking to Simply Business, “I know the opportunity it gave me and it’s out there for everybody. They talk about university and all that and, not knocking it, but it’s not for everybody, and I think there’s life without a degree.”

“I think an apprenticeship is an equivalent to a degree.” He added, saying that they skills learnt during an apprenticeship and the qualification gained could be used the world over to ensure someone was never out of work.

“I’ve been working quite closely with the government about apprenticeships, and they’re definitely switched-on about it now,” he concluded, “They know the way forward is apprenticeships.”

What do you think about the IFS report? Let us know in the comments.

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