Schools need to do more to promote apprenticeships, Ofsted warns

Wilshaw is expected to say that the number of 16 to 18 year-olds being taken on as apprentices is as low as it was a decade ago, and the low figures are partially a result of schools failing to push pupils down vocational routes.

The Chief’s comments have arisen alongside a report published by Ofsted, which outlines the drive to create more apprenticeships has led to the quality being diluted.

Wilshaw, speaking at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) West Midlands Education and Skills Conference, will say: "The fact that only five per cent of our youngsters go into an apprenticeship at 16 is little short of a disaster

"Too many of our schools are failing to prepare young people for the world of work. Even where they do, the careers advice on offer isn't encouraging enough youngsters into vocational routes that would serve them best.

"Too many of our further education providers have focused for too long on equipping youngsters with dubious qualifications of little economic relevance. And too many employers have not engaged with schools or organised themselves effectively to make the apprenticeship system work.

"Our report today lays bare what many have long suspected. Despite the increase in numbers, very few apprenticeships are delivering the professional, up-to-date skills in the sectors that need them most."

The government has set a target to create three million apprenticeships by 2020.

Headteachers’ leaders criticised Wilshaw’s ideas, rebuking that he is wrong to point the finger in the direction of schools. Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Blaming schools for lack of provision of information about apprenticeships will get us nowhere with this important priority.”

“Careers services have been decimated in recent years and funding removed, and it is incredibly difficult for schools to gain accurate access to full information about what is available and the quality of that provision.”

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