Drop in new Norfolk apprenticeships prompts call to woo better quality tutors

Stuart Clancy, Conservative county councillor for Taverham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Stuart Clancy, Conservative county councillor for Taverham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives. - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

More must to be done to get quality tutors into Norfolk's colleges to train the next generation of apprentices, council leaders have said.

New figures show the number of new apprenticeship starts in Norfolk fell by almost 13pc between August 2017 to July 2018.

That is a worry for Norfolk County Council, although it is better than the national figure, which saw a 24pc fall.

Stuart Clancy, Conservative county councillor for Taverham and the council's member champion for apprenticeships, said the figures showed Norfolk was recovering at a faster rate than other areas.

He said the number of 16 to 18 year olds starting apprenticeships had only seen a 'small drop' of less than 2pc, but the challenge was really with getting apprenticeship starts for 19 to 24 year olds and those aged 25 and above.

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And he said: 'We will make sure colleges are put on notice that they need to ensure an apprenticeship framework is being built.

'There are issues of getting the right quality of tutors and an issue of remuneration.

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'The reality of the industry is that you can earn a lot more working in the field than teaching it, so there can be a mismatch there.'

National changes in legislation had resulted in a reduction in the take-up of apprenticeships, the council had said.

In 2017, an apprenticeship levy was introduced. That means employers with a payroll of £3m or more have to pay 0.5pc of their total pay bill towards apprenticeship programmes.

They can then draw upon a fund to use against the costs of employing an apprentice.

But take-up of the central fund had been low, with criticism over the bureaucracy surrounding the scheme.

Mr Clancy said a number of measures were being taken to respond to the fall in apprenticeship starts.

He said the council was working with employers to encourage innovative use of the levy to create apprenticeships.

And he said Apprenticeships Norfolk was running the first Norfolk Apprentice of the Year contest to showcase work being done by apprentices.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of the county council's business and property committee.

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