Apprentices and NEETS – No Jewel in any Crown

This is the single most rewarding aspect of what we do and we hope our new seminar “Staying the Course – (motivating NEETS and Apprentices to gain completion) will allow us to do more of this.

794,000 people aged 16-24 were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in the final quarter of 2017, 11.2% of all people in this age group. {Source}

Looking at the image below it is obvious that we are heading in the wrong direction.

Our Managing Director Barry Wall reflects on our work in this area and examines some of the barriers preventing success.

As we are looking to trial our new seminar aimed at young people who are NEET/Apprentices I felt it was time for some reflection.

We have already approached the subject of the costs of the apprenticeship schemes failure to address completion rates in the blog posts here and here, and I am sure, after some discussions with providers that some progress is being made.

However, seeing the figures above for NEETS does not fill me with hope, does it you?

My recent research with young people and providers has shown that in some areas providers and employers are still getting it wrong, wilfully or through outside forces, mostly thrust upon them by the process or circumstances.

I am particularly interested in hearing from organisations and companies working with apprentices or NEETS who are struggling in this area.

So in no particular order, here are my humble opinions on why this is no “Jewel in any Crown”.

I am more than willing to be proved wrong.

Achievement Rates

Dismal, less than 70%, as an average UK wide 65%. Show me a business that can sustain that and still call themselves a business and I’ll cry foul. Are they not just staying one step ahead of the falling dominoes?

The reasons are myriad, but most employers state that the apprentice choses to leave, and that’s the rub.

How do we instill the importance of completion?

That is not a skills issue, it is an attitudinal one.

Reasons can be found in this highly interesting government report {PDF}.

Business – Provider – Learner Interface

“I haven’t seen my assessor in 6 months”

“They keep changing assessors”

“It’s just dull”

“They forget I am running a business”

“The business is not engaging and wants the impossible”

Need I say more? this is from various sources, anecdotal, but verbatim.

The conversation over at The Student Room is a corker.

And some people seem to never learn…

“Learndirect declined to comment on its apprenticeship achievement rates.”


“The whole thing is just cumbersome”

“I have not got the time for this paperwork and form filling”

How this ended up so cumbersome is beyond me, they have delivered apprenticeships to UK businesses for years and now it is worse than ever.

This shocking report from the Guardian highlights a 59% drop in takeup! Get your head around that for a second…mindblowing.

Bear in mind that this is on top of the revelation that barely half of levy organisations have actually signed up for the scheme. {Source}

Begs the question, was the decision to give employers such a big role in this a good one, or are they happier with a simpler service that training providers can offer them?

I bet it is the latter.

Poor Apprentice/NEET Induction

This is the “one shot” that a provider/employer gets, to motivate, inspire and provide the young person who needs it; with an attitude and mind-set that can make them a success.

I have yet to come across one that effectively addresses the responsibility imbalance between the three parties involved, Apprentice, Employer and Provider.

The responsibility seems skewed to me, with far to little being held by the apprentice (read customer) and far too much by the other players.

Investment in Attitude and Motivation

A heartbreaking conversation with a provider of learning for NEETS showed me that where funding exists, they simply cannot afford the standard of teacher/trainer that the situation deserves.

They had come to me looking for highly motivational and switched on people who could really take a room full of these young people and inspire them to be all they can be.

I sent this out to my network, and was almost laughed off the planet, the pay rate was £85 to £100 a day, no expenses.

How can you get the best in that field for that price?

You are businesses, act like it.

Stop expecting freebies as well 🙂

Not Mixing Things Up

Whenever we get requests for learning for NEETS/Apprentices they are always for longer periods, the very best of our learning consultants simply do not work that way, they have multiple clients and cannot give up 2 weeks at a time, or travel 100 miles for essentially no financial gain.

Many assessors are full up with 40 learners each to look after.

Providers should get one-off help from specialists, especially in induction.

But then I would say that wouldn’t I!

I would like to hear from any providers in the Manchester Area that are interested in helping pilot a motivational seminar designed to improve retention for NEETS/Apprentices, so please get in touch if you can help.

Meanwhile, here is some golden feedback from these very young people themselves, about an organisational induction.

Makes me glow!

Posted in PolkaBlog.