The CBI is asking the Government to do as it has previously promised and urgently consult businesses about the Apprenticeship Levy’s future.
According to a new Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report, ‘Learning on the job: Improving the Apprenticeship Levy’, urgent steps must be taken by Government to reform the Apprenticeship Levy in England, so firms can offer more of the high-quality training they need to succeed.
The CBI says that firms have welcomed recent Government efforts to evolve the Apprenticeship Levy and employers invest over £44 billion a year in skills training and are passionate supporters of apprenticeships. However, two years on from the system’s introduction, the overall number of apprenticeships starts remains significantly low. With growing financial pressure raising questions about the sustainability of the Apprenticeship Levy, the Government must now urgently launch its promised public consultation on Levy plans after 2020 – which is only three months away.
CBI recommendations for reform include:
Increase transparency around Levy receipts and expenditure
Enabling firms to better understand how the Levy system is working, what’s being funded by the Government and how their contributions are being spent
Make the Levy system more user-friendly
Engage smaller firms with practical, online support and locally-led ‘matching services’ which allow large firms to pass on unused funds
Creating a sustainable financial plan for the Levy budget
Introduce a £100 million annual Government top-up to the Levy budget – so that Levy payers and SME non-Levy payers can continue using the scheme to spend on apprentices of all ages and skill levels
Opening up conversations about the future of the Levy
Government should urgently fulfil its commitment to publicly consult on options after 2020 – including broadening the Apprenticeship Levy into a ‘Flexible Skills Levy’, which would cover a wider range of high-quality, relevant training.