Episode Three of Let’s Go Further – Out Now!


With job vacancies at a record high but apprenticeship take-up and employer spend on training at a low, the latest episode of the Let’s Go Further podcast asks who is trying to plug the skills gap – and who isn’t getting a chance to.

In this, the third episode in the current series, Shane Chowen is joined by Naomi Clayton, Director of Policy and Research at the Learning and Work Institute, and Sam Tuckett, Associate Director for Post-16 and Skills at the Education Policy Institute.

Lack of investment leading to reduced opportunities for people to take part in formal learning, the role of inequality in who gets the opportunities and the absence of a long-term skills strategy are all discussed.

On the issue of apprenticeships, Sam states:

“So apprenticeship take-up has declined substantially in recent years, specifically since the introduction of the levy and there’s been a drift to the South in apprenticeship take-up and, when there have been increases, it tends to be the high-level apprenticeships and the degree apprenticeships….”

Noting that whilst all career progression is good, Sam continues:

“It’s not really getting to the heart of that skill shortage and unemployment issues which a well-functioning apprenticeship system really has the potential to do.”

When questioned about the Lifelong Learning Entitlement, the new system being phased in from 2025 that will entitle every adult up to the age of 60 to a loan to access a range of courses at Level 4 and above, Naomi says:

“I think, in general, it’s a good idea, but we think it needs to be more ambitious….We’d like to see the Lifelong Learning Entitlements extended to encompass entitlements at lower levels of learning.”

On the issue of evidence suggesting that it’s adults without qualifications that are the least likely to be engaging in education and training, and the question of how we can bring those people into the skills system, Sam says:

“It should absolutely be a priority for the next government….So it’s how we make it accessible and enticing to the people… who don’t have qualifications.”

Naomi concludes:

“We really need to make sure that beyond things like the Lifelong Learning Entitlement, we are making it easy to access learning everywhere, that we have really good information and advice to enable people to make informed choices about learning.”

Episode three of Let’s Go Further is published on Tuesday 23rd April.

Listen to all episodes of Let's Go Further on YouTube.

Let's Go Further together!