The Institute of Directors has welcomed comments from the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, about the importance of careers advice and promoting apprenticeships in schools, but reiterated concerns about the new ‘apprenticeship levy’, which will act as an additional payroll tax for businesses.
Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:
“For too long there has been a poor record of career guidance in UK schools. Too many teachers and parents perceive apprenticeships to be ‘second best.’ The Wolf Report highlighted numerous examples of schools encouraging students to choose subjects and paths that were not in the individual student's best interests but were good for the school’s league table performance. These measures are a very welcome step to address those problems and encourage a long awaited parity of esteem between 'vocational' and 'academic' education.
“Going to university will remain the right choice for many young people, but for others an apprenticeship can offer a better route to a successful and fulfilling career. However, the government must focus on quality and make sure the training provided is in the areas where employers are facing the worst skills shortages. At 0.5% of payroll, the tax to fund apprenticeships is a considerable burden on mid-sized employers so the government needs to help those businesses for whom the cost of providing training, both in time and money, is often prohibitive".