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JTL has voiced ‘serious concerns’ over schools’ lack of compliance with the Baker Clause, preventing JTL and other training providers from informing pupils of their options post full time education.

JTL, provider of apprenticeships in the Building Services engineering sector, says it’s hugely disappointed by the apparent failure of the so-called Baker Clause to enable training providers like JTL to gain access to schools and their pupils to ensure that young people are informed about their options – including apprenticeship options - once they leave full time education.

Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) shows one year on from its introduction, compliance with the Baker Clause has been very poor. Few schools are complying with their statutory duties. It found that just two in five schools (37.6%) published a provider access statement. Despite this, the Department for Education (DfE) is yet to take formal action to enforce compliance.

Most technical education providers think that the Baker Clause has failed to deliver on its aims. Over 70% say that it is difficult to access schools in their area and less than a third say that the situation has improved in the last year. Poor compliance is due to the lack of incentive for schools to retain their pupils and little enforcement of the Baker Clause.

Mark Dawe, chief executive of the AELP – the Association of Employment and Learning Providers commented, “AELP agrees that a major concern is providers not being able to talk to pupils of all abilities while gender stereotyping also remains a big issue.”

“With the current debate on whether all HE courses deliver value for money and apprenticeships now being available up to and including degree level, it is vital that young people have access to impartial information on all of the routes available to them.”

JTL’s chief executive Jon Graham added, “Like many others we were sceptical that the Baker Clause would have an immediate impact on allowing us and other providers to gain access to schools and their pupils, to highlight the post full time education options.”

“This appears to be the case and combined with recent figures showing that there were only 195,200 apprenticeship starts across the board between April and November 2017, representing a 40% drop compared with 325,700 starts in the corresponding seven months in 2016, it would seem that there is a requirement for serious action from Government to rectify this.

“The Apprenticeship Levy does not seem to be working well either. According to the Local Government Association, the Apprenticeship Levy will generate £900 million less funding in the first four years than the Government previously stated.”

“In addition, we continue to ‘bang the drum’ about the Levy not being used as it was intended – and certainly should not, in our view, be used to fund Senior Management Apprenticeships, providing university level training to individuals already in work and already with professional qualifications. The apprenticeship scheme should, as a minimum, support apprenticeships that help fill skills gaps in vital industry sectors. 

“We sincerely hope those who are making decisions and failing to enforce actions that have been previously agreed, will provide leadership at a time when we need to boost the number and quality of apprenticeships available to meet the demands of UK industries where skills gaps are evident at every level.”