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Government in danger of not meeting apprenticeship target - Sector response

Government in danger of not meeting apprenticeship target - Sector response

Apprenticeship and levy statistics: January 2018

The latest figures published by the Department for Education remain significantly lower than for the same period in each of the previous couple of years

Statistics covering latest monthly apprenticeship starts, apprenticeship service registrations and commitments and apprenticeship levy declared information. 

This release provides headline experimental statistics on the use of the apprenticeship service. These include apprenticeship service account registrations (ASAs) and number of commitments (reported to November 2017), where an apprentice who is expected to go on to start has been recorded in the system.

New to this release are monthly apprenticeship starts information for the first 3 months of the 2017 to 2018 academic year and apprenticeship levy declarations (reported to November 2017).

Commenting on the latest figures from the Department for Education showing a 27% drop in apprenticeship starts,

Mark Dawe, Chief Executive, Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), comments:

For a government committed to improving social mobility, ministers have to be really concerned about the continued drop in starts for both young people and at lower levels. A 38% drop in starts at intermediate level does not bode well for the social mobility agenda. As Brexit edges closer, this is also entirely the wrong time to be closing the door on employers trying to recruit apprentices in key sectors such as social care and hospitality.

The government has got to look again at the incentives for recruiting young people and make sure that there are apprenticeship opportunities available across the country. This means that employers shouldn’t be charged for taking on 16 to 24 year old apprentices and they should be given more flexibility in how they train them.

The big cuts in the funding of apprenticeships in smaller employers make no sense at all when ministers are chasing a 3 million quality starts target and all registered providers should be given access to funding for all employers now, but most importantly it’s the productivity and social mobility agendas that require a reversing of these cuts.

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

Today’s figures showing a further drop in apprenticeship starts, are very worrying for the government, for employers and for UK productivity.

The NEU supports the apprenticeship levy. Given the very poor track record of UK employers in providing vocational training for their employees, it was right for the Government to call their bluff and to insist that they made a contribution to developing workplace skills and productivity.

Government needs to act so that apprenticeship starts improve from their current levels.  The Government must ensure that the apprenticeship ‘brand’ is not tarnished by poor quality workplace training, non-payment of the minimum apprenticeship wage and discrimination against women and BAME workers.

Mark Farrar, AAT Chief Executive says:

While there is some value in seeing the rate of decline for new apprenticeship starts slow in Q1 2017/18,  they nonetheless remain in decline. The latest figures published by the Department for Education remain significantly lower than for the same period in each of the previous couple of years, and therefore there’s still a long way to go to repairing employer confidence in the system following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.

Taking on an apprentice can be a great way of introducing and developing talent into organisations of all sizes. We do hope that, over time, the Apprenticeship Levy’s introduction will lead to greater business engagement with apprenticeship schemes, which in turn will lead to social mobility benefits for the whole country.

Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy, Chartered Management Institute, said:

The latest statistics on new apprenticeships starts are beginning to show some promising increases, and it is still less than a year since the introduction of the Levy.  The new apprenticeships were introduced as radical reforms to a failing system, where the UK was falling behind international competitors in terms of employer investment in higher level skills.  Creating a new employer-led system through the Levy with employer-designed standards, is a major transformation that clearly will take time to fully embed.

The Levy is fundamental to closing the nation’s chronic skills gap. The national skills shortage is costing business dearly.  Indeed, we need 1.5m new managers by 2024 to meet growing demand, yet four in five bosses surveyed by CMI say they’re finding it tough to recruit the skilled workers they need. Today, management apprenticeships are one of the fastest growing areas, alongside digital and engineering. These apprenticeships are developing school leavers and workers alike to gain the world-class professional skills employers need to compete internationally.

Article courtesy of FE News (www.fenews.co.uk)

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