The National Apprenticeship Service: One hundred thousand reasons why Hudson Contract is so disappointed

The National Apprenticeship Service: One hundred thousand reasons why Hudson Contract is so disappointed

4th December 2017 | David Jackson

You might remember reading that the government’s new National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has presided over a slump of almost 60% in apprentice numbers between May and July this year, compared to the same period in 2016, with only 48,000 people starting a recognised training course.

Here at Hudson Contract, this unwelcome news came as no surprise.  We are intensely frustrated at the way the scheme is being implemented.

This is our experience of NAS to date: 

  • We welcomed NAS because we’re passionate about getting young people into the construction industry.
  • In anticipation of NAS, we formed a partnership with Leeds College of Building, the country’s foremost specialist centre for education and training in construction. 
  • Since April, when NAS began, we have paid in over £100,000 via the levy and were happy to do so. 
  • However, we have not yet been able to draw down a single penny to fund the apprenticeship grants we were expecting to provide. 
  • We can’t act because we cannot access the grants.  

So the collapse in apprenticeship numbers since the new system began has come as a bitter disappointment – but sadly, no surprise.

The courses at Leeds Building College cost between £6,000 and £9,000, which means that if we were allowed to access the funds we have contributed, as many as sixteen apprentices could already have begun their careers in construction.

But no matter how hard we have tried – and we have tried very hard indeed – we have been unable to unlock the funds to which we are entitled. 

The NAS website promised to add ‘further information’ about how transferring funds between organisations will work some months ago.  

But still no update. 

It’s more than just intensely frustrating. 

It’s an absolute disgrace that is prejudicing the workplace opportunities for the very school leavers the National Apprenticeship Service is supposed to help.

On a brighter note, Hudson Contract’s own Apprenticeship Sponsorship Scheme has just reached a major milestone – details here