With companies paying a collective £3 billion per annum into the Apprenticeship Levy from Thursday 6 April, the CBI has cautioned that “significant concerns” still exist about whether or not the policy will deliver the high-quality training both businesses and apprentices need.
The Government has worked quickly to ensure the Apprenticeship Levy was ready for launch. Its focus so far has been on building an operational system that works. Now that the policy has been introduced, though, the CBI is repeating its call for the Government to broaden its focus, prioritising quality and long-term success measures alongside growing apprentice numbers.
Neil Carberry, the CBI’s director for people and skills policy, said: “Given the speed and scale of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, businesses have been working hard to be ready against a tight timescale. Now that the system for paying and reclaiming the Levy has gone live, the time has come to focus on quality training that meets company and apprentice needs.”
Carberry continued: “For the Levy to be a success, it must deliver long-lasting careers and close skills gaps, not just create more apprenticeships. Shifting the focus towards quality is essential for delivering much-needed stability to England’s skills system. That’s why business is focused on helping the Institute for Apprenticeships to make this right. As it stands, there’s a genuine risk that firms are not going to be able to use their funds if the system doesn’t deliver the training that apprentices really need.”