It has been widely documented that skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), management and soft skills are particularly lacking in the UK’s workforce, leaving employers with difficulties when attempting to find skilled workers. As a response, the government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 to help create three million new apprenticeships by 2020 and encourage employers to invest in training and skills development.
In England, apprenticeships are available across a range of sectors and levels, with the government providing a 10 per cent top up on the levy paid by employers. However, according to the Department for Education, there has been a 2.8 per cent fall in apprenticeships starts in the 2017/2018 academic year, compared to the previous year.
Recent statistics from the Open University also report that more than 50,000 organisations across the UK have contributed £1.8bn pounds to the apprenticeship levy since its introduction, but organisations in England have only withdrawn £108 million pounds from their National Apprenticeship Service accounts while more than £1.39 billion remain untouched. Across the UK, the remaining levy funds total £3.02 billion pounds.
It is important for employers to remember that any unspent Apprenticeship Levy Funds will be lost if not used by April 2019, funds which could otherwise be used to attract and retain staff, increase efficiency and build skills. It’s not too late to start the process and make the most of your funds.
The apprenticeship levy supports workforce planning on a strategic level and provides significant benefits to employers, including greater access to skilled workers, enhanced retention and attraction rates, improved organisational performance and succession planning.
Find out more abour apprentices at West London College www.wlc.ac.uk/courses/apprenticeships