Government plans will force large schools to employ apprentices

Schools have been named in a consultation document as one of the public sector organisations likely to have to hit tough new government targets for apprenticeship recruitment.

The document unveiled today explained how most public sector bodies employing 250 or more people in England will need to recruit 2.3 per cent of its headcount as apprentices.

It said: “Schools which are maintained by a local authority and where the local authority is also the employer are expected to be included in their own local government target.

“Other schools such as free schools, foundation schools, voluntary-aided, and academies/trusts with 250 or more headcount will be covered by the duty,” it added. “This will exempt many schools (due to small headcounts) but some larger schools or multi-academy trusts will be covered by the duty.”

The nine question consultation paper explained that “as a starting point for determining an appropriate target for public sector organisations”, the government had “taken the current proportion of public sector workers in the total workforce in England (16.2 per cent)”.

“We would, therefore, expect the public sector to deliver 16.2 per cent of 3m apprenticeship starts, which is around 486,000 apprenticeship starts,” it said.

“Therefore, to deliver 486,000 apprenticeship starts by 2020, the public sector will need to achieve approximately 97,000 apprenticeship starts annually, which is equivalent to 2.3 per cent of the total public sector workforce.”

It added that most NHS bodies, local authorities, all police and Armed Forces, and the vast majority of fire and rescue services would have to hit the target.

Other large bodies including Network Rail, London Underground, the BBC, Sellafield, Post Office, City of London, Bank of England, Financial Ombudsman Service, and the Financial Conduct Authority would also be covered.

Further education colleges are not mentioned in the document.

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