With the myriad of changes that have taken place in the last two months, including a new Skills Minister, new Secretary of State for Education and the merging of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with Department for Education, it’s no surprise that associations and employer groups are calling for urgent clarification, if not a delay, to the apprenticeship levy.
The apprenticeship levy is currently due to be launched in April 2017, however there have already been delays in announcements about the funding proposals. These were due to be announced in June, however the result of the EU referendum led to a shake-up in Parliament with new Prime Minister Teresa May, who has appointed Justine Greening as new Secretary of State for Education and Robert Halfon as Skills Minister, and these funding proposals have still not be announced. While apprenticeships are a top priority for Robert Halfon and he has been a strong advocate in the past, there will be many areas that he is taking on in his new role and employers are calling for a delay in the launch of the levy to give time for Mr Halfon and the DfE to properly structure and plan the levy for the mutual benefit of the economy, employers and learners.
The apprenticeship levy is being introduced as part of government’s pledge to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, and it’s hoped the levy will fund £3billion a year into the training of apprenticeships and encourage employers to recruit apprentices. However, the levy will not cover the costs of recruitment or their wages, simply the training of the apprentice.
The associations that are publicly calling for a delay are EEF (Britain’s largest association of manufacturing employers), CBI business lobby group, Charity Finance Group, Institute of Directors and National Franchised Dealers Association. The consensus seems to be that the levy should be delayed for a year to April 2018, however Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, is calling for at least 2 years. Before the referendum, the group released figures showing that less than 10% of its members thought the levy would be a way to encourage them to hire apprentices, and now their focus is on other areas following the referendum result.
Not only is there concern of the implications of the apprenticeship levy for those businesses who will be required to pay, there are also questions around those non-levy paying employers and how the funding will apply to them.
There’s no denying that the future for apprenticeships and funding is certainly subject to change, and here at Aspire Training Team we are working with employers across Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset to go through any changes to processes and procedures they may need to make, as well as promote the benefits of hiring an apprentice, the main goal of the levy. We’re keen to promote these benefits and not allow any confusion regarding the levy cloud the positive outcomes that come from apprenticeship programmes.
For more information on the recruiting an apprentice, you can contact the team on 01202 551553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.