Apprenticeship reforms ‘potential disaster’

IMI chief, Steve Nash claims the piecemeal approach of government apprenticeship reforms is a ‘potential disaster’ for the motor industry.

As a result, IMI is urging ministers to undertake a wholesale review before pressing ahead with the proposed changes.

Government has announced new funding arrangements for apprenticeships in connection with introduction of the Training Levy in 2017. Many of the courses currently used by the motor industry to fill around 13,000 apprentice vacancies every year are subject to cuts of up to 50% in government funding. This has sparked fears from the IMI that retail motor sector will suffer a trainee drought from next year, worsening an already critical skills shortage across the country.

Steve Nash IMI CEO said, ‘The reform of the apprenticeship system which was initiated by the coalition government and continues under the Conservatives has been piecemeal, with successive Skills Ministers adding their own elements and responding to different recommendations from various reviews. Information on key things like the levy has been sporadic and untimely and huge amounts of responsibility has been delegated to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA)… a body that doesn’t even exist as yet! It is no wonder there are unintended consequences from many of the changes currently being rushed through.

‘Newly appointed Apprentice Minister, Robert Halfon MP, has a golden opportunity to undertake an end-to-end review of the whole reform process and ensure that the new system is absolutely fit for purpose before the existing one – which delivered well over two million apprentice starts in the last parliament – is rendered unusable.’

The Institute of the Motor Industry is now hurriedly organising responses from the industry to the government consultation that closes on 5 September.