Apprentice numbers down 40% since Levy launch

A new report has revealed an alarming fall in in apprentice numbers since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.

According to research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Trust, apprenticeship numbers have fallen by nearly 40% and has called for urgent reform to reverse the trend.

The report said: “As it currently stands, the Apprenticeship Levy scheme has not succeeded in reversing the decline in employer investment in training, addressing poor productivity, nor enhancing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships. In reconsidering this area of policy, the next UK government should aim at:

  • rebalancing the apprenticeship system to primarily benefit young people, particularly those who experience socio-economic disadvantage, and
  • boosting employer investment in training and tackling critical skills shortages and skills.

The IMI found that the automotive sector in particular had lagged behind other industries when it comes to making the most of the Levy and revealed in March that there are now 4.3 vacancies in the industry for every 100 employees.

Future Skills Fund

In response to these latest figures, Fiona Graham, chief advocacy officer at Family Business UK, said: “The latest research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reinforces our long-standing argument that the apprenticeship system is simply not working.

“To deliver a skills regime that is fit for the future, we need an overhaul of the employee training landscape by refocusing the Apprenticeship Levy and making the skills landscape work for businesses and individuals. The current skills and apprenticeship system needs to be revamped and replaced with a more holistic Future Skills Fund.

“This fund would provide greater flexibility on how money can be used to encompass apprenticeship support, training and development for existing employees. This would allow businesses to use the allocated funding on a wider range of training options and opportunities. Transitioning to a Future Skills Fund would also give businesses greater flexibility and opportunity to use funding for the skills and technical expertise they need. It would better equip local schools and colleges to provide training and skills relevant to the needs of local employers and communities.”