IMI calls for apprenticeship levy reform

The IMI has backed calls for the government to reform its Apprenticeship Levy as apprentice numbers continue to decline since it was introduced.

The IMI believes the new system is too complicated and has put many business owners off from going down the apprenticeship route.

Steve Nash, chief executive for IMI, said, ‘With new apprentice numbers still showing a significant decline the government must accept that some of the processes surrounding the levy are too complex, restrictive and inflexible, which is just what the CBI have been saying.

‘Whilst the apprentice numbers in automotive are not down as much as in other sectors, they are still much lower than they should be and don’t reflect the real demand that exists for new, young talent. A number of our large employers have told us directly that their apprentice recruitment has fallen short of their true business needs, simply because they haven’t found the new processes to be easy to understand and negotiate.

“Overall a more pragmatic approach from the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) – which is the body that governs the new apprenticeships – would help to achieve greater employer engagement across all sectors of business. Too many employers have struggled to get the training they actually want and need for their businesses approved for re-claim against their levy payments.

‘This is why many are simply regarding it as a tax and have disengaged.  That’s a great shame because the introduction of the levy should potentially have resulted in new apprenticeships being offered in a great many sectors and occupations where they haven’t previously existed.’