Responding to Department for Education figures showing that the number of apprenticeship starts dropped by 27% to 114,000 compared to this time last year, Seamus Nevin, Head of Policy Research at the Institute of Directors, said:
"Unsurprisingly, today's apprenticeship figures show a 27% drop compared to this time last year and we already know from previous statistics that there was a 61% drop following the initial introduction of the Government’s levy last April. Clearly the new system has failed to take off.
“The levy can be difficult to navigate and many employers still struggle to comprehend how the system is meant to work. 13% of levy paying IoD members cannot recoup all the money they pay in because of glitches in the levy’s pricing, while a further 11% of mostly smaller payers are having to write off their payments as a tax because apprenticeships are too expensive for their available funds.
“Apprenticeships are a fantastic type of training for someone new to a job – and it is great to see there was an increase in the number of higher level apprenticeships this year – but employers have made it clear that this type of training is not always the most appropriate way of helping to up-skill someone already in work.
“If we want employers to invest more in training, and if we want to create a ‘parity of esteem’ between so-called academic and vocational education, then we need to ensure that the levy system works for employers. Today’s figures are a warning for the Government, as it becomes increasingly unlikely that they will meet their 3 million new starters target. The levy is the right idea, but the system is ripe for reform.”