Responding to latest official apprenticeship statistics, showing that apprenticeship starts were down 24% for the six months to January 2018, compared with the same period 12 months earlier, Seamus Nevin, Head of Policy Research at the Institute of Directors, said:
“Today’s figures add to the growing body of evidence that the Apprenticeship Levy is not working as the government intended. Across the country, employers in almost every sector are reporting urgent skills shortages so the majority are very supportive of the levy in principle, but there have been major problems with putting the funds to use in the ways and places they are needed most.
“While the intention behind the policy is right, today’s stats reinforce why we need a change in how the Levy is implemented. The IoD has been urging the Government to reform the system so that larger companies can pass more of the funds down their supply chain to the places it is really needed, and to give firms longer to use the money, so that it is spent on the most valuable apprenticeships and on subjects where there are the biggest skills shortages.
“It is only by ensuring quality training for the jobs most in demand that the levy will benefit apprentices and boost the productivity of our economy.”