A raft of new government measures aims to help employers take on more apprentices – including £60 million on helping get young people from deprived backgrounds into work.
Employers with fewer than 50 employees will receive 100 per cent of the cost of training apprentices aged 16-18. This will also apply if they take on 19-24-year-olds who were in care or with an education and health care plan.
Just 2 per cent of employers will pay into the Apprenticeship Levy – those with payrolls above £3 million – while the rest will receive 90 per cent of apprenticeship training costs from May 2017.
The government reckons that spending spending on apprenticeships in England will be double the level they were in 2010 by the end of the decade.
“This is the news we have been waiting for,” says Tony Howard, director of training at the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). “Employers need certainty about future funding provision so they can plan their recruitment strategies, and this provides welcome reassurance.”
The government has simplified the funding model and built in greater flexibility so that employers will now have two years to access the funds in their digital training accounts. Employers will also be able to transfer training funds to companies in their supply chains. The new scheme provides greater flexibility to train those with prior qualifications in a bid to help existing workers develop new skills.
The £60 million invested in training apprentices from the poorest areas in the country means that up to one-third of new apprentices will come from this background, according to Skills Minister Robert Halfon.
The government has introduced a new register of apprenticeship training providers that requires them to pass quality and financial tests. Those with an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating for apprenticeship provision will not be eligible to join.
It has also created a guide for employers on how they will pay the levy, access the digital system and pay for apprenticeships in future. This also outlines the 15 bands in the funding system covering different levels and types of apprenticeship with upper limits ranging from £1,500 to £27,000.