Modern Apprenticeships are to be offered to all young people with 5 GCSE passes (Grades A* to G) who want them. In a follow-up to the plans announced in the pre-Budget report to boost basic skills for adults , the government will open up the apprenticeship programme by 2004.
In a joint statement between the Chancellor, the DTI and the DfES, a target was established of one in four 16 and 17-year olds entering the scheme. Speeches by Patricia Hewitt, Estelle Morris and Gordon Brown stressed the importance of the scheme for creating a flexible workforce, and the role of business in identifying and responding to skills requirements.
The expansion includes a £16 million marketing campaign, an appeal to the public sector to embrace the apprenticeships, and a drive to raise their status so that skills-based training is no longer considered the poor relation to academic achievement. The new technical certificates for modern apprenticeships will ensure that detailed technical knowledge is a fundamental part of the apprenticeship diploma.