IMI: apprentice reforms a ‘time bomb’

The IMI believes government proposals to cut apprenticeship funding are a ticking time bomb for the automotive industry.

The Department for Education and Skills published proposals in August that would cut state funding for some vocational training courses for 16-19 year olds by as much as 50%. Many businesses fear they won’t be able to secure apprenticeship places at these new rates because the courses won’t be economically viable for providers to run.

The changes, due to be confirmed in October 2016 and implemented in May 2017, come on top of the introduction of the new Apprenticeship Levy and the introduction of a new type of apprenticeship, which requires employers to take on the administrative burden, all of which businesses are struggling to understand.

The IMI believes the government’s intention to cut £22bn of support for the FE sector is the main driver of the difficulties. The planned savings are inconsistent with the governments pledge to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020.

IMI CEO Steve Nash, who previously described the proposals as a ‘car crash’ has written to the skills minister Robert Halfon MP with the direct support of leading retail businesses employing thousands of people, calling for a delay in the implementation of the controversial plans.

Steve Nash said, ‘The government’s apprenticeship reforms are a ticking time bomb for our industry that’s worth £150 billion a year. The uncertainty around apprentice funding and provision is likely to see many employers simply not take on trainees over the next couple of years. Thousands of young people will miss out on an opportunity to build a career and our sector will lose vital skills and productivity.

‘I’m urging Education Ministers to pause and learn a thing or two about what business needs before they go any further with their apprentice reforms.’