Join the dots: The role of apprenticeship intermediaries in England

Think tank: IPPR

Author(s): Anna Ambrose; Anna Dent; Rosie Maguire

May 11, 2023

This report from UK think tank IPPR looks at how intermediaries can become an integral part of the policy solution to help all SMEs access high-quality support.

Apprenticeships have the potential to make a transformative difference to the lives of learners and to the skills and productivity of businesses, but this potential is not currently being realised. Barriers cited by businesses include a lack of high-quality information and practical support, and challenges navigating apprenticeship funding and accessing suitable provision, as well as the caps on non-levy apprenticeships imposed by government until April 2023. In this context, an organic network of intermediary support has grown up in England, which reflects the central role this support plays in other apprenticeship systems across the world. In this report, we recommend that intermediaries should become an integral part of the policy solution, ensuring that all SMEs are able to access high-quality support. This will better enable apprenticeships to drive the skills improvements needed, to address regional inequalities, and to improve business productivity in the sectors which matter most for communities.