UK Businesses Split Over Apprenticeship Levy

Employers have expressed concerns that Cameron’s plans to introduce a levy will reduce investment from workforce training and development

UK Businesses Split Over Apprenticeship Levy

British businesses are split over the government’s plan to introduce an apprenticeship levy, with a recent CIPD survey having revealed that 39% of businesses owners think it will be a positive measure for business while 31% think it will have a negative effect and 30% remain undecided.

Of the businesses who support the levy, 30% said it would incite them to launch an apprenticeship programme and a further 30% believed it would boost apprenticeship numbers.

However, 31% of business owners are concerned that introducing the levy will mean sacrificing support in other areas of employee training and development.

An additional 22% said the levy might encourage employers to accredit already existing training as apprenticeship schemes and 20% said they believe the levy will cause the quality of apprenticeship schemes to deteriorate.

The news comes on the eve of David Cameron’s apprenticeship levy consolation, whereby the prime minister asked UK business owners to share their opinions with the government.

The government hope the levy (to be introduced in 2017) will increase investment in training and apprenticeships, and will enable employers who put in funds to have direct spending power over it.

CIPD’s chief executive Peter Cheese commented:

“The government has rightly focused on the need to increase the quantity and quality of apprenticeships in the UK and is hoping the levy will lead to increased investment by employers in these schemes. However, our survey suggests that boosting both numbers and quality at the same time will be a significant challenge.

“If the government is serious about raising the quality of our apprenticeship system, it is important the levy is weighted towards increasing the number of apprenticeships at or above level 3. It’s also important the apprenticeships levy is not regarded as a solution in itself to the skills and productivity challenges facing the UK.”

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