Mr Woodcock was part of a panel of FE and skills experts who spoke at a House of Commons event last night hosted by the Young Fabians Education Network (YFEN) about the prospects for England’s apprenticeship system over the five-year lifetime of the newly-elected Conservative government.
He said that he had “grave misgivings” about the 3m target spelled out in the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto.
“We [the last Labour government] were battered over what we can now admit was an overly targeted approach to, for example, health service reform,” he said.
“It did in some cases skew the system towards churning out numbers at the expense of quality and that is [now] a huge concern for apprenticeships.
“If those apprenticeships do not genuinely embed people in the world of work and set them up for a future profession, then we are doing a disservice to those young people coming into them.”
Another panellist at the event, which had around 50 audience members and was entitled ‘Beyond 3m: A successful apprenticeships system for the UK’, was director of early careers at Barclays Bank, Mike Thompson (pictured right).