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Apprenticeships matter for part-time workers too

Businesswoman Giving Computer Training In OfficeThe introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 made developing apprenticeship schemes a priority for businesses. But although the number of people taking part in these schemes has increased, there are many groups – particularly women, people with caring responsibilities, people with disabilities and young people leaving the care system – who remain shut out. Why? Because most apprenticeships are full-time.

So if, as a society, we want to make these opportunities available to all – and if businesses want to increase their chances of hitting their government quotas – developing part-time and flexible apprenticeships is the obvious solution.

That’s why we’ve been working with the Young Women’s Trust, Trust for London and the Learning and Work Institute to investigate how to make apprenticeships an option for people who can’t work full time. We’ve been talking to employers to find out what the barriers and opportunities are, and how we can work together to design roles which are achievable on a part-time basis. And our project partners have had similar conversations with training providers and learners.

Our research has shown, as we suspected, that there are currently very few part-time apprenticeships available; less than one in 10 are contracted for less than 30 hours per week. But it has also shown that it is possible to make them work. So, as is the Timewise way, having worked out what the problem is, we’re now setting out to fix it.

We’re therefore going to be running a new pilot to develop and test models for part-time and flexible apprenticeships. It will be designed and delivered through our Innovation Unit, in partnership with a group of public and private employers, and will start later this year.

Our aim is to deliver innovative solutions that will open up access to skills, better pay and career progression for the millions who need to fit both earning and learning with other life needs. By doing so, we’ll able to help businesses use part-time and flexible apprenticeship models to create more diverse workplaces, reduce gender inequalities and tackle skills shortages.

If you’d like to find out more, or talk to us about how we can be similarly innovative in your own sector, please contact me on

Published March 2018

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