ScreenSkills reacts to Budget

The Chancellor today announced a move to cut in half the amount that smaller employers have to contribute towards the cost of training an apprentice. ScreenSkills welcomed the measure but asked for more.

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO, said: “We are pleased that the Chancellor is continuing to listen to industry and is willing to make adjustments to the apprenticeship levy. Reducing the percentage that smaller screen employers have to pay towards training will save them each between £450 and £600 per apprentice.

“However, it does nothing to help the larger employers who between them pay around £20 million a year and struggle to make use of it. More flexibility needs to be introduced to enable employers, large and small, to recruit apprentices to help fill the skills shortages in this booming industry and to diversify the workforce.”    

ScreenSkills will continue to push for greater flexibilities. Ideally, the apprenticeship levy would be turned into a training levy and employers given much more freedom to decide how best to spend their levy funds.

There are more modest reforms which could make a difference, including:

  •  Sharing of vouchers: new flexibilities that would facilitate employers pooling vouchers and share apprenticeships, for example via a specialist Apprenticeship Training Agency.  
  • Modular apprenticeships: Enable apprentices to build up occupational competence ‘credits’ towards their apprenticeship (a technical/vocational version of the CATS scheme used by organisations like the Open University), could help solve issues associated with the minimum 12-months of continuous employment. 

The Chancellor’s previous announcement increasing the amount of levy money that can be transferred to other businesses from 10 % to 25% was a welcome step in the right direction, But without simultaneous simplifications which would allow companies to make bulk transfers to a third party organisation (called an Apprentice Training Agency) that would employ the apprentices, it will not have the desired effect.


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