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David Cameron asks for input from businesses on new apprenticeship levy

4 min read

21 August 2015

Former editor

The government have unveiled a number of new developments in the apprenticeship space – including a study on the recently-announced levy, changes to public procurement, industry standards and the 5% Club.

After an apprenticeship levy so that firms “get back more than they put in” was announced by chancellor George Osborne during the Summer Budget on 8 July, more detail has been provided on how it will shape up.

The prime minister hopes the levy will “level the playing field” so that each and every big company plays a part in providing a “new generation” of skilled apprentices and training blueprints.

Employers throughout England are being asked for views on the introduction of the apprenticeship levy – seeking opinion on how it will be paid, how the funding will be spent, how to make sure that employers paying the levy have the opportunity to get more than is put in and how best to give employers control of apprenticeships.

The levy is expected to be introduced in 2017, and is said to be a core component in the government’s plans to produce a further three million apprenticeships by 2020. Already in place in countries including Denmark and South Korea, the levy is predicted to bolster Britain’s poor productivity as well.

Furthermore, from 1 September 2015, all bids for government contracts worth more than £10m will have to show a “clear commitment” to apprenticeships. This means employers will be expected to demonstrate a “reasonable proportion” of the workforce are in an apprenticeship or formal training programme.

In an effort to improve the quality of apprenticeships, so-called “industry standards” are being introduced. The standards have been derived from the group of Trailblazers spanning sectors such as fashion and nuclear.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The greatest asset any employer has is their workforce. And by investing in them, they are investing in the success and future of their business.

“As a One Nation government, we are committed to supporting three million quality apprenticeships over the next five years – to help strengthen our economy, deliver the skills that employers need and give millions more hardworking people financial security and a brighter future.”

Read more about apprenticeships:

The 5% Club is a business-led network of employers which committee to getting a minimum of five per cent of the the workforce from apprenticeship and training schemes inside the next five years. The 100th member of the club has just been revealed, joining the likes of KPMG and Vision Express.

Nigel Whitehead, group MD for Programmes & Support at BAE Systems, said: “As one of the largest employers of apprentices in the UK, we welcome the government’s continued commitment to encourage quality apprenticeships.

“We recognise the valuable contribution that apprentices make to our business, reflected by the fact that we will recruit more than 800 apprentices this year, including those we train for SMEs and companies in our supply chain. We value the opportunity to work with government to help design and implement the apprenticeship levy.”

The consultation on the apprenticeship levy can be found by visiting the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills website, and runs until 2 October 2015.