Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) have been criticised in some quarters (in 2002, only 40 per cent of work‐based learning (WBL) providers were deemed adequate). Things are improving but there is still much to be done. This paper addresses this issue. Support for Success, a Learning and Skills Development Agency quality improvement programme funded by the Learning and Skills Council, commissioned a small number of action research projects in 2002, with the aim of improving learner outcomes. Of those projects, 12 sought practical ways of promoting achievement and progression in WBL to respond to the government directive of securing progression and the attainment of targets in the WBL arena. The paper provides an overview of the issues associated with 14‐19‐year‐old vocational education and training, before addressing aspects of retention and achievement in modern apprentice programmes. Drawing on 12 projects, different approaches to improving success in MAs are explored.
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