We will adopt a model of longer apprenticeships with more off the job training at a younger age, expanding apprenticeships among 16 to 18-year-olds, in line with other advanced economies. To do this we will encourage collaboration between independent training providers and our national network of Further Education colleges.

We will review the tax levers we have available to examine how they could better unlock skills investment from business. All employers in receipt of public money for skills development, as in all other areas, will be subject to fair work rules.

All apprentices under the age of 21 should be partnered with a Further Education college to ensure appropriate support, including access to college days or off-site training/education for key skills or other appropriate education choices.

In addition, we will:

  • Establish a network with a focus on increasing the number of young people, from all backgrounds, accessing degree and higher-level apprenticeships as an alternative to university.
  • Improve the access for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to the best apprenticeships. A portion of levy money will be ringfenced for spending on bursaries, outreach, or travel for disadvantaged apprentices.
  • Create a UCAS-style portal where young people can easily find information about, and apply to, apprenticeships and FE courses, to address the fragmented applications process and increase parity of esteem with academic routes.
  • Pilot a new Craft Expert programme aimed at providing routes for older workers to pass on experience to younger generations. This will build on the current master craftsperson apprenticeship framework being piloted in Engineering in Wales.
  • Support the internationalisation of the FE curriculum giving Wales’ vocational and technical learners access to world class skills and industrial technology.
  • Upgrade the skills levels of traditional women’s roles, increasing their pay and the esteem in which they are held.
  • Allocate a specific and rising proportion of the total apprenticeships budget to the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to ensure a significant rise in the proportion of apprenticeships that are Welsh-medium.
  • Tackle under-representation of women and people of colour in apprenticeships with stretching targets, linked to funding, for all training providers delivering apprenticeships to address gender imbalances across apprenticeship pathways.

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