New 12-month rule is proving to be a ‘Foe’ for the hard-working apprentice

New 12-month rule is proving to be a ‘Foe’

A few weeks ago I reported on the new 12-month rule coming in to play on 1st August 2012 for apprentices.  The rule says that all apprentices aged 16-18 must have an apprenticeship plan that covers a minimum period of 12 months and apprentices aged 19 and over should ideally have a plan covering 12 months.


I understand why this rule has been put in place because there were some providers out there turning out apprentices in 6 months or less and then taking another group and so on, thus making a tidy profit from the public purse and I do support measures to prevent this from happening.  It is not ethical to make huge profits from the public purse at the expense of the learners’ experiences.  The BBC Panorama programme certainly showed some cases where this was happening and it must be stopped.


However, by having a blanket approach as a solution, hard-working, keen, enthusiastic apprentices are being penalised (and ourselves, as a training provider, along with them) for achieving in less than 12 months.  Here are 2 classic examples of how apprenticeships should be tailored to meet the needs of the employers and learners involved rather than a blanket, standardised approach.


Jamie has completed his level 3 apprenticeship in Business and Administration in less than 7 months.  He works for a local accountancy firm and impressed his employers when he completed his level 2 in 9 months.  Jamie is diligent, bright, enthusiastic and hard-working.  His reward for working hard on his level 2 was sustained employment with this company and the progression on to level 3.  So far, so good, I hear you say.     As a good employer, his line manager discussed progression and career direction with Jamie and, as a result, offered to support him to complete an ACCA course starting in September, thus putting Jamie on the accountancy career path.   This inspired Jamie to put his head down and crack on with the assignments and course work for his level 3 thus completing in 7 months.   As a result of his apprenticeships with us, Jamie has sustained employment, a career path and progression on to further learning and qualifications.  EXCELLENT!!


Connor has completed his level 2 apprenticeship in 7 months.   Connor is enthusiastic, hard-working, committed and pays attention to detail.   He impressed his employers very quickly and was offered sustained employment on completing his apprenticeship.  This inspired Connor to put his head down and get on with his assignments and course work.  As a result of his apprenticeship with us, Connor has secured sustained employment with a large local employer.  BRILLIANT!!


The bad news….. both of these learners (and us) will be penalised under the new ruling coming in from August.    We will be required to st-re-tch their apprenticeship out to last the 12 months and will have to actively discourage these learners from working quickly through their apprenticeships.    When you think these learners both worked so hard to impress their employers and have been rewarded for these efforts, could the new ruling actually discourage this from happening in the future?


Learners and their employers should not be penalised by a rule that encourages only time-served without taking into account the quality of the input and the success of the output!!