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Co-op proposes apprenticeship policy reform

The Co-op Group is set to join representatives from a number of institutes in talks regarding apprenticeship schemes in the UK.

The round-table discussions will focus on a report into the national apprenticeship programme, commissioned by the Co-op, that includes recommendations on change to government policy.

Also attending the talks will be representatives from the Department for Education, National Apprenticeship Service, National Society of Apprentices, and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Steve Murrells, CEO at the Co-op, said: “Giving people the opportunity to make their mark through an apprenticeship can drive social mobility and help tackle the persistent inequalities in our society. 

“That’s why I champion apprenticeships and also why we want to work with the government, following this report to future-proof the apprenticeship policy. We want to help address how the national programme can better accommodate different needs, business to business, apprentice to apprentice.”

The report includes a study that found numerous figures related to both the food retail and funeral sectors, including the fact that the number of retail apprentices has fallen by roughly 25% since 2014/15.

Peter Dickinson, senior research fellow at Wawrick’s Institute for Employment Research, who conducted the study, said: “We identified that small and medium enterprises are taking on fewer apprentices. 

“It was originally 50% in 2018, but dropped to 43% last year. There needs to be some sort of levelling, so that all businesses of any size can create important opportunities for young people.”

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