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Apprentices: Ethnic Groups

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL15122, tabled on 20 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that BAME communities receive apprenticeship outreach information.

Answered on

28 April 2021

Apprenticeships benefit people of all ages and backgrounds, and we want to ensure that more people from underrepresented backgrounds can undertake them, particularly those that offer higher wage returns and progression opportunities.

We are working with some of the country’s most influential employers through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network, which consists of over 85 employers, to promote best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds. We are building on this work to ensure that we continue to see an improved representation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds starting apprenticeships, especially in sectors that carry historic under-representation. The Network will report during National Apprenticeship Week 2022 on how to better reach out to target communities and improve on-programme retention.

To increase the outreach of information of apprenticeships to students of all backgrounds, we are promoting apprenticeships in schools through our Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge programme. This free service provides schools and teachers with resources and interventions to help better educate young people about apprenticeships.

The department is co-funding, along with the Home Office, a series of activity delivered by the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation. This work includes supporting young people, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds, into level 3 advanced technical digital apprenticeships using the Foundation’s extensive network of contacts and partners. The Careers and Enterprise Company supports schools and colleges to connect with employers so that young people have opportunities to explore all available options. These interactions aim to increase their knowledge of a range of career possibilities and training options, including apprenticeships. We committed in our Skills for Jobs white paper to improve the careers information available to young people and adults by updating the National Careers Service website to bring together all information on learning and careers routes available, such as apprenticeships. We will introduce interactive careers maps, which will show the occupations and careers options that technical or higher technical options can open the door to.

The Baker Clause requires all maintained schools and academies to publish a policy statement setting out opportunities for providers of technical education – including taught courses and apprenticeships – to visit schools to talk to all year 8 to 13 pupils, and to make sure the statement is followed. In the Skills for Jobs white paper, we committed to introduce a 3-point-plan to enforce the Baker Clause. We will consult shortly on proposals to strengthen the legislation. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, we plan to introduce these changes alongside tougher formal action against non-compliance and making government-funded careers support for schools conditional on Baker Clause compliance.