A coalition comprising of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) and other bodies have written to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid asking him to broaden the apprenticeship levy, to allow employers to be able to spend their levy funds more flexibly.
The joint letter asks Mr Javid to use the 4th September 2019 spending review to implement these changes. As the coalition feels that making spending levy funds more flexibly will “boost the UK economy just as it needs it most.”
Whilst Mr Javid was campaigning to be the leader of the Conservative Party he wrote in the Financial Times:
I will broaden the apprenticeship levy into a wider skills levy, giving employers the flexibility they need to train their workforce, while ensuring they continue to back apprenticeships.
The coalition also includes the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and ScreenSkills.
The joint letter said:
We believe this would be the right step. A levy that allows businesses greater flexibility to fund accredited, quality training that is effective for workers and employers – rather than meeting a government target – would be ideal. It would help to fill skills shortages and enable higher pay for workers.
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said:
The apprenticeship levy was designed with the best intentions, but the current approach has not worked. The number of young workers doing apprenticeships has slowed and non-apprenticeship training has taken a huge hit. It’s time to think again. Moving away from a complex system that locks many workers out, to a flexible skills levy that lets firms buy the most appropriate high quality training for any worker is the right choice.
Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said:
The apprenticeship levy is too inflexible and fails to encourage or create the best opportunities for employers to invest in the skills they need to boost the UK’s productivity and competitiveness. Our research shows employers want a more flexible training levy that supports investment in apprenticeships, as well as other equally important forms of workplace training and development.
In July 2019 the CIPD accused the Government of making an empty promise when it comes to the apprenticeship levy as it came to light that less than a third (31 per cent) of levy paying employers say it will lead to an increase in the amount of money they are spending on training.