Following the announcement of further details regarding the apprenticeship levy last week, Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General at the Confederation of British Industry, has expressed her concerns about whether the digital service will be ready for the launch next year, as well as the impact it will have on other training routes.
The apprenticeship levy was announced in the Budget last year as a way to fund and train more apprentices to meet the government target of 3 million apprentice starts by 2020. Employers who pay over £3million in their payroll each year will be required to pay 0.5% of their total payroll bill into their digital account. Provisional details on the levels of funding are not due to be released until June, with these figures then being confirmed in October. The CBI have questioned whether this will then be enough time to design, build, test and launch the complex digital service, only six months ahead of the proposed implementation of the levy in April 2017.
The CBI is also concerned that the levy will encourage employers to focus more on investing in apprentices, taking their funds away from existing industry specific training or graduate and management schemes. With the government focussing on 3 million apprentice starts by 2020, there is a question over whether their target is fuelled more by quantity than quality, and whether their target should be based on apprentice completions and qualifications than starts.
Skills Minister Nick Boles has replied to the CBI’s concerns stating that the new frameworks for the apprenticeships are encouraging employers to be more involved in their development, allowing them to be tailored for the needs of the business and therefore improving the quality of the qualifications. Consequently, they are able to have more control over the training they need, making them more applicable for the business and learners themselves. The Institute for Apprenticeships will also be responsible for monitoring and maintaining the quality of apprenticeships across the UK.
While there are still more details to confirm about the apprenticeship levy and the future frameworks for apprentices, here at Aspire Training Team we’re pleased to see a focus from government on promoting apprenticeships to both businesses and young people as they are an excellent way for young people to earn their qualifications, while also making a living and learning valuable on the job skills.
Aspire Training Team works with businesses and young people across the South on delivering apprenticeships in childcare, business administration and health & social care. For more information on hiring an apprentice, or becoming one, you can contact the team on 01202 551553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.