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UK – Apprenticeship levy comes into force today

06 April 2017

The UK government’s new apprenticeship levy comes into effect today. According to the government, the levy will fund 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020 with companies spending £3 billion a year to contribute to the funding.

Commenting on the start today of the apprenticeship levy, Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“It’s good news for workers, who will have more opportunities to gain the skills needed for better paid jobs. And it’s good news for businesses, as their productivity will improve with a higher skilled workforce.

“The government must now look at ways to make sure that all apprenticeships are of high quality. And we need action to improve access to apprenticeships for groups of workers including women, disabled people and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers,” O’Grady said.

The Confederation of British Industry has stated that businesses are concerned about the levy and has cautioned that significant concerns still exist about whether the policy will deliver the high-quality training businesses and apprentices need.

“For the Levy to be a success, it must deliver long-lasting careers and close skills gaps, not just create more apprenticeships,” Neil Carberry, CBI Director for People and Skills policy, said. “Shifting the focus onto quality is essential to delivering much needed stability to England’s skills system, that’s why business is focused on helping the Institute for Apprenticeships get this right.

“As it stands, there is a genuine risk that firms aren’t going to be able to use their funds if the system does not deliver the training apprentices need.”

The CBI stated that is repeating its call for the government to broaden its focus, prioritising quality and long-term success measures alongside growing apprentice numbers.

Meanwhile, research from City & Guilds show that one in three employers are unaware of the levy.

Kirstie Donnelly, managing director of City & Guilds, commented, “Our research demonstrated that employers were still confused, with just a third saying they felt fully informed about the levy and very few understanding the huge range of jobs that can be filled by apprentices. If employers are to embrace the opportunities the new apprenticeship system could bring it’s important government gets the message out about the benefits, such as creating a strong pipeline of talent."


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