Commenting on the Apprenticeship Levy statistics, published today by the Department for Education, Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment and Skills Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“With our research showing three quarters of businesses facing skills shortages, it is vital that employers can recruit young people into the business and upskill workers at every level of the workforce.
“Apprenticeships are very much part of the solution, but the restrictions and complexity around the use of the Apprenticeship Levy have made it more difficult for firms to use them to train staff and plug skills shortages. Since the Levy was introduced nearly a year ago, we have seen a worrying fall in the number of new apprenticeships started. This is limiting opportunities for people and could impact on business competitiveness. Something must be done urgently to reverse this trend.
“The Government urgently needs to work with businesses to find ways to make the Apprenticeship Levy work better for everyone, and ensure that the UK economy has the skilled staff it needs. Some quick fixes include giving firms more time to source apprenticeship training, introducing more flexible payment schedules and doing more to help SMEs access apprenticeship funding.”