The government has been warned that urgent changes are needed to the apprenticeships programme.
A review by a committee of MPs claimed standards needed to be improved and schemes needed to be better monitored.
Last year the government invested £1.2bn in the apprenticeship programme, with 457,200 people starting training as an apprentice. However, the review by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BISC) said there was too much focus on the numbers taking apprenticeships and not enough attention paid to the quality of the schemes.
Adrian Bailey, chairman of BISC, said: “The apprenticeship programme can play a key role in resolving some of this country’s most pressing issues. Apprenticeships are a viable and attractive route to a career and should be seen as equal to the university route.”
The BISC added the government needed to be clearer with its apprenticeship policy and there should be an assessment of how the schemes are funded. It also recommended that the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) should have a statutory responsibility to raise awareness of apprenticeships for students within schools.