NET Chairman, Bob Harris, has backed calls from think tank Policy Exchange for the term ‘apprenticeship’ to be protected – and recommends that an assessment of competence be part of the structure of every specialist apprenticeship.He said: “NET fully supports Policy Exchange’s recommendation of limiting the term ‘apprenticeship’ to 3 to 4 year, high quality apprenticeships. However, any definition should reference industry approved measures to assess whether an apprentice is competent and ready to work unsupervised in the full scope of their discipline once their training has been completed.

Harris continued: “Apprenticeships are all about training young people to be competent to industry standards and for specialist sectors, an independent, industry-developed competence assessment can demonstrate whether an apprentice is ready for their industry. The AM2 has provided a means of assessing the readiness of electrical installation apprentices to work unsupervised for more than 25 years and forms the vital link between the training process and the needs of employers in the real working environment.”

Harris concluded: “We need to make sure that ultimately, employability remains a key part of apprenticeship training. Taking on apprentices is merely the first step; we need to train them to a standard where they can work competently and safely and an industry assessment is a fundamental part of that process. By making sure that all apprentices are trained to an industry recognised level with proper career prospects, we will safeguard the time and money invested in their training and gain real value as they enter the worfkorce”.