Fix broken Apprenticeship Levy to deliver high-quality training.
Speaking at the FE Week Annual Apprenticeships Conference in Birmingham, CBI Deputy Director-General, Josh Hardie, called for the government to urgently reform the Apprenticeship Levy if it is going to deliver great training and jobs.
In his speech, Josh recognized the welcome steps the government has taken to build an effective English skills system – including the introduction of T-levels and the National Retraining Partnership.
However, when it came to the Apprenticeship Levy, firms were concerned that the Levy’s current structure is a missed opportunity to increase investment in training, with lots of firms unable to access the right provisions to upskills their employees and grow their business. In addition, the narrow design of the system prevents them from using the Levy to build the quality training system they need for the long term.
With businesses wanting a system that delivers for people and our economy in the long term, Josh set out three immediate steps to improve the Levy – and unlock the business commitment to skills.
First, more flexibility in how the levy can be spent on apprenticeships, so firms can work together to share far more of their funds to support quality training in their area or sector. Next, the government should push ahead with the Apprenticeship Reform Programme to drive better progression for apprentices to higher-paying jobs. Finally, the Institute for Apprenticeships needs proper teeth as an independent skills regulator to ensure an increase in quality training in the market.
The speech received good coverage in the national media. Going forward, the CBI will continue to push for adapting the apprenticeship system, making the case for it to evolve into a more flexible ‘skills and training levy’ which delivers for everyone, tackles skills shortages and improves standards across the board.
First seen here.