The Welsh Government has published the final report following a 2 year evaluation of its Pathways to Apprenticeships programme which ran from 2009/10 to 2013/14 and was supported from 2010/11 onwards by funding from the European Social Fund (ESF). The evaluation was undertaken by BMG Research.

The final report can be found at the following link:

The programme gives young people aged 16-24 the opportunity to spend a year in College doing preliminary study and to undertake a work placement to prepare them for the Government-supported Apprenticeship scheme. In order to evaluate the programme the following method was applied:

  • A detailed review of available programme literature and management documents.
  • Analysis of management information data pertaining to the volumes of learners, their demographics and learner characteristics.
  • Qualitative interviews with Welsh Government Officials, programme managers, FE Colleges and Sector Skills Councils in each year of the evaluation.
  • Surveys of employers and current and past learners in each year of the evaluation (totalling over 700 interviews) utilising a combination of telephone, paper, and online approaches.
  • Qualitative interviews with employers and learners to further explore their experiences.

The evaluation found that:

  • Pathways to Apprenticeship provided eight thousand learners with valuable skills and qualifications, and a degree of employability which is likely to have enhanced their career prospects and lifetime earnings.  It did so at a cost which is, over time, expected to generate a net benefit for public budgets
  • The programme’s key success was that the programme of learning was strong – demonstrated by high levels of completion and attainment, and high levels of satisfaction with the programme amongst learners
  • While the ESF-funded targets within the programme were nearly all achieved, the Welsh Government targets for numbers progressing into Apprenticeship were not met
  • A further limitation of the programme was that it required a high rate of administrative and organisational input in relation to its scale of delivery.

For more information please contact Elizabeth Davies, Research Director, at

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