As the Apprenticeship Levy comes into force for all employers turning over more than £3 million a year, apprehensions still exist over whether the scheme will be able to supply the “first-rate” training that both industry and apprentices need.
Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said:
“The Apprenticeship Levy has gone ‘live’. BSRIA welcomes the government’s emphasis on increasing investment in apprenticeships and the industry is ready to stimulate more training and apprenticeships. However, quality is essential over quantity per se and BSRIA is keen to see long-term success for the scheme.
What is paramount is how important it is to close the industry skills gap. Apprenticeships provide the backbone for a career in engineering for many employees and no compromises should be made regarding them.
In essence: the levy must meet industry and apprenticeship needs.
BSRIA is leading by example and looking forward to welcoming apprentices; junior apprentices are to be placed in the engineering divisions and in the marketing department. BSRIA is also exploring the possibility of a higher apprenticeship which will ultimately result in a BA (Hons) award. It’s a great time for employers to be investing in their people.“
- Some firms face paying for the levy but are unable to access new or updated training standards, or have no approved providers available locally.
- A lack of accessible information for employers about the government’s list of approved providers and their quality of training.
- Government should give employers longer than 24 months to spend their levy vouchers, if current issues remain unresolved in the first year.
- Ineffective careers guidance in schools about available apprenticeship options.
- Moving forward: government should consider a more flexible skills levy, to not only support apprentices, but also retraining for adults.
Over 900 construction firms are to be charged the levy and which will help fund the government’s target of creating three million apprenticeships by 2020.