The Big Conversation

As a part of the work to improve the skills system being conducted by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), this report presents findings from externally commissioned research with employers as part of IfATE’s Big Conversation. This research draws on findings from 46 interviews and two focus groups with employers who were engaged, semi-engaged and not engaged with IfATE.

The central aim of the research is to improve the skills system in England; find out what is working well and avenue for potential improvement.

Employers were recruited from a total of 12 routes, and just under half of the employers were from the engineering and manufacturing and the education and childcare routes.

Overall, employers across engagement levels viewed apprenticeships positively and were impressed with the improved promotion and quality of apprenticeships following the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards. Additionally, engaged employers noted that location often determines the availability of apprenticeships.

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