Apprenticeship levy needs reviewing

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has called on the government to rethink The Apprenticeship Levy, as it hasn’t succeeded in increasing the numbers of young people entering apprenticeships.

There has been a fall in apprenticeship levels of 28% between August 2017 and March 2018, compared to the previous academic year according to statistics released by the Department for Education.

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April 2017 in a bid to increase the numbers of young people undergoing apprenticeship training across all sectors. Firms are currently able to pass on 10% of the levy funds down to their subcontractors if they are unable to train apprentices themselves.

Brian Berry, the chief executive of the FMB has said that the government's own figures are showing that the numbers of apprentices are falling and that the levy doesn’t appear to be improving numbers as it was intended. Berry points out that if firms were able to pass on more of the levy to their subcontractors it could give a boost to numbers.

This view was also shared by Chris Wood from Develop Training in April, who asked the government to make the levy more flexible by extending the time allowed to use the funds to more than two years, to increase the apprenticeship choice and to remove the caps on apprenticeships. At the time the government pointed out that the fall in numbers was preliminary - however, this has now been confirmed.

This news comes as construction firms have expressed fears over the numbers of skilled workers they have access to. 58% of builders say they struggle to hire bricklayers and 55% cannot find carpenters or joiners.