The St Martin’s Group publishes new report ‘Enabling Better Outcomes: A Wider View of Apprenticeship Success’.


The St Martin’s Group publishes a new report ‘Enabling Better Outcomes: A Wider View of Apprenticeship Success’ which investigates what apprenticeship success looks like to employers.

The significance of employer support in ensuring higher completion rates for apprenticeships cannot be overstated. A recent study conducted by The St Martin’s Group in collaboration with the Learning and Work Institute sheds light on the critical role played by employers in supporting apprentices, and the impact it has on completion rates. The findings of this research, launched to a diverse audience of approximately 100 stakeholders from the Further Education (FE) and Skills sectors, reveal compelling insights into the correlation between employer support and apprenticeship completion rates.

While the notion of offering substantial support to apprentices seems self-evident, employers encounter various barriers in providing such support. The research underscores that despite the high value placed on completion by employers, only one in three of them report completion rates exceeding 75%. This statistic underscores the challenges faced by employers in offering the necessary support for apprentices to successfully complete their training programs.

Key Findings
The research indicates that employers who demonstrate high completion rates are more likely to engage in the following practices:

Offering Comprehensive Support: Employers with high completion rates are inclined to provide extensive support for off-the-job training and pastoral care, surpassing the support offered by those with lower completion rates. This highlights the pivotal role of comprehensive support in fostering an environment conducive to successful apprenticeship completion.

Recognising Responsibility and Importance: Employers with high completion rates perceive themselves as responsible for providing support and recognise the significance of apprentices completing their training. This acknowledgment plays a significant role in influencing completion rates, emphasising the importance of employer attitudes and commitment to the success of their apprentices.

Valuing Completions for Business Benefits: Employers with high completion rates view apprenticeship completions as instrumental in achieving various business benefits, such as facilitating the progression of apprentices within the organisation, enhancing productivity, and addressing critical skill gaps. This broader perspective on successful outcomes underscores the multifaceted advantages associated with apprenticeship completions for employers.

Implications and Recommendations
The research underscores the need to expand the current understanding of successful apprenticeship outcomes and integrate these insights into the narrative surrounding apprenticeships. It highlights that the conventional measures of success should encompass the broader spectrum of benefits associated with apprenticeship completions as perceived by employers. This holistic perspective is crucial in fostering greater employer investment in apprenticeships, as it aligns with their strategic business objectives and highlights the tangible returns they stand to gain from supporting apprenticeship completion.

In conclusion, the findings of this research underscore the pivotal role of employer support in driving higher apprenticeship completion rates. By recognising the barriers faced by employers and highlighting the practices associated with higher completion rates, this research provides valuable insights that can inform policy and practice in the field of apprenticeships. It serves as a compelling call to action for stakeholders to recalibrate the narrative surrounding apprenticeships, placing emphasis on the multifaceted benefits of completions to encourage greater employer engagement and investment in apprenticeship programmes.

For the full report by The St Martins Group, please refer to the following link: Enabling better outcomes: a wider view of apprenticeship success – Exec Summary


Jan Richardson-Wilde

CEO, Occupational Awards Limited

Jan is the CEO of Occupational Awards Limited, a Director of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and an FE College Governor. She has over 35 years’ experience in the education sector in strategic and operational management of training programmes with colleges, private training providers, local authorities the voluntary sector and not for profit organisations. Jan has previously been a board member of the Learning and Skills Council, chair of the North Yorkshire Training Provider network and Vice-Chair of Yorkshire Coast College and a Governor of the Grimsby Institute for Further and Higher Education. She has extensive experience of education policy, apprenticeships, qualification, and curriculum development as well as business improvement.

Jan joined OAL in 2019, a leading non-profit industry-focused Awarding and End-Point Assessment Organisation, supporting a wide range of employers and of key stakeholders to succeed and surpass expectations. Jan is committed to continuous improvement and enthusiastic about improving the effectiveness, impact and quality of apprenticeships, education, and training in the UK and internationally. She has a wide range of experience of working in a collaborative context with employers and training providers to develop End Point Assessment, apprenticeships, and a wide range of vocational programmes.

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