Planned changes to the funding of apprenticeships in England have been criticised by Labour MP’s as they could impact the quality, quantity and accessibility of apprenticeships.
More than 50 Labour MP’s have written to the Skills Minister, Robert Halfon, calling for him to rethink proposals that will involve cuts to apprenticeships working within certain sectors and locations, some of which will see a 30%-50% cut to the rates paid to colleges and training providers. The letter, led by Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy says the cuts “hugely undermine the government’s pledge to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, and also contradict the prime minister’s promise to ‘help anybody, whatever your background, go as far as your talents will take you’.”
The Skills Funding Agency published the rates in August and show that two of the most popular apprenticeships for 16-18-year-olds, Level 2 apprenticeships in business administration and construction, face cuts of 27%-52% depending on location. It also seems that the most deprived locations are seeing the largest cuts to funding. The danger is that some training providers will find that apprenticeships are no longer viable to offer as part of their business proposition, and so provision may fall away from some areas and age groups. The analysis also shows that funding for apprentices aged over 24 will go up.
While the 3 million target set by the government are to increase the number of apprenticeships, as well as the introduction of the apprenticeship levy quickly approaching as a way to fund these, the cuts to funding indicate that apprenticeships are not to receive the same financial investments as other routes into higher education and training. This is a feeling supported by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), who has raised the interesting point that apprenticeships are the only form of education and training that are not fully funded for 16-18-year-olds.
Mr Halfon replied to the criticisms that while some rates were reduced, the amount of funding going into apprenticeships overall was increasing and there was more money per apprentice on average. Through the levy, £2.5billion will be invested in apprenticeships by 2019-20, and further changes are being introduced to encourage, not discourage, employers, to take on 16-18-year-olds, which is why employers who recruit apprenticeships in this age group will also receive a £2,000 incentive.
If you are considering hiring an apprentice in childcare, business administration or health and social care, you can contact Aspire Training Team on 01202 551553 or email email@example.com. The team work with businesses across the South to place learners with the right employers, and can also consult with you if you are concerned about how the apprenticeship levy will impact your business.