Commenting on the Government’s latest announcement on apprenticeships, John Longworth, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“It is right that the Government is seeking to engage businesses and consult on the introduction of an apprenticeship levy to make sure this policy is properly thought-through.

“Apprenticeship schemes can play a part in meeting important ambitions to boost skills and drive-up productivity. But for apprenticeships to take hold and become established, the focus should be on quality – not hitting an arbitrary figure. The conveyor belt model is not what business wants to see.

“If the quality is there, the demand, from employers and potential apprentices, will follow.

“Our research shows that greater engagement with smaller businesses is needed to increase apprenticeship take-up. Government policy is currently too focused on major employers, but equal effort ought to be put on encouraging and supporting smaller businesses to offer apprenticeships.”