Since the apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2017, half of all apprenticeship courses have been labelled “fake”.
The educational think tank, EDSK’s report “Runaway training: Why the apprenticeship levy is broken and how to fix it” found that £1.2 billion of apprenticeship levy funds had gone towards these “fake” courses.
The report said the funds are either going to low-skilled jobs or relabeling existing posts instead of training. Tom Richmond, EDSK director, said the scheme was “descending into farce”.
Mr Richmond said:
Instead of supporting the government’s efforts to improve technical education for young people, the evidence shows that some employers and universities are abusing the levy by rebadging existing training courses and degrees as ‘apprenticeships’ for their own financial gain.
The report also found that one-tenth of apprentices covered by the levy was just “team leader/supervisor” courses for experienced staff.
EDSK accused certain universities, such as Durham and Imperial College of creating “academic professional apprenticeships” to fund the training of their own qualified academic staff. The report outlined that if you need a PhD to be accepted on to these levy-funded courses then it can not be a “genuine” apprenticeship course.
Mr Richmond also said how funds had been given to football apprenticeships to teach people how to play football. Due to all this, the think tank has argued that the apprenticeship “brand itself has arguably become a meaningless concept”.
However, Mark Dawe, chief executive of Associate of Employment and Learning Providers (ALEP) has come out in defence of the levy and said that apprenticeships should be available to employers of all sizes to access the full range of apprenticeship programmes from Level 2 through to Level 7.
The ALEP represents two-thirds of all training providers in England.