What are Public Sector Apprenticeship Targets?

Introduced to the House of Commons in December 2015, the Enterprise Bill gives the Government powers to set targets for apprentice numbers in the public sector.

As part of a drive to improve the skills base of the UK economy, the Government has legislated targets to create 3 million new apprentices by 2020. In addition to this, they want to ensure that the public sector is a model employer with respect to apprenticeships, leading by example and offering a significant number of apprenticeships to develop a skilled workforce for the future.

According to the Bill, an “apprenticeship target”, in relation to a public body, is a target relating to the number of apprentices who work for the body under an apprenticeship agreement.

The Bill gives the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills the power to set the targets for public sector apprenticeships and the discretion to decide not to include certain bodies or categories or bodies in the regulations.

What does this mean for schools?

The Government’s Consultation for Apprenticeship Targets for Public Sector Bodies invited interested parties to comment on the proposed list of public sector bodies and the reporting arrangements for the target.

The proposed target is for apprentices to make up 2.3% of the workforce of large public sector bodies. The consultation is now closed and the Government are examining the details.

What we know is that schools with a workforce of over 250 will be required by law to meet this target. At first sight, it may seem as though your school may not be eligible, but when you investigate further, many large schools, schools hosted by their Local Authority and Multi-Academy Trusts, will be required to hit the target too.

When do these targets come into force?

The reporting period for the target will be the financial year, with the first period due to start in April 2017.

Schools will be required to publish and send information to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills within six months of the final day of the reporting period.

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