How will the apprenticeship levy tackle employer concerns over skilled workers?

Employer concerns over the apprenticeship levy and skilled workers in the future have been highlighted in a recent survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Pearsons.  The survey, conducted before the EU referendum, asked nearly 500 organisations who represent over 3 million employees what their concerns were for the future in their business.

While 71% of businesses now offer apprenticeship schemes, when asked about the apprenticeship levy 39% of the businesses surveyed said that the levy in its current form may lead them to cut non-apprenticeship training while 45% said they may be required to put up prices or reduce margins due to the costs of the levy.  Despite this, 38% plan to increase the number of apprenticeships they offer under the new system and 34% said their training and apprenticeship programmes would continue as they do now.  57% said that more clarity is needed about how the levy will work, adding pressure to the new Skills Minister and Secretary of State for Education to ensure that the levy is suited towards businesses.

With reference to skills, 69% of businesses surveyed were concerned about filling their high-skill roles in the future, compared to only 55% last year.  These concerns are heightened as 77% of firms believe they would have to rely on more high-skilled roles in the future, needing more leadership and management skills and intermediate level skills in the workplace.  Literacy and numeracy skills were also raised as a concern by a third of the businesses.

The apprenticeship levy is being introduced as a part of the government plan to achieve 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, and is intended to support businesses in hiring apprentices and consequently reaping the benefits that come from that, with businesses in the past reporting:

  • 83% of employers who employ apprentices rely on their apprenticeships programme to provide the skilled workers that they need now and for the future.
  • 59% report that training apprentices are more cost-effective than hiring skilled staff
  • 59% believe that apprenticeships lead to lower overall training costs
  • 53% feeling that they reduce recruitment costs
  • 74% of apprentices add value within their first few weeks
  • 92% of employers who employ apprentices believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.
  • 80% companies who invest in apprentices have reported a significant increase in employee retention
  • 57% report a high proportion of their apprentices going on to management positions within the company
  • 81% of consumers favour using a company which takes on apprentices


The recently launched Post-16 Skills Plan, which will see vocational learning on a par with academic learning, will go a long way to help create opportunities for young people to become the skilled workers that many industries need.

If you have any questions about how the apprenticeship levy will impact your business or what plans you need to make to be ready for the levy, you can contact the Aspire Training Team on 01202 551553 or email  The team work with businesses and potential learners across the South to place child care apprentices, business administration apprentices and health and social care apprentices.



Posted in: Advice, Apprenticeship