Semta chair: Apprenticeship Levy is a ‘lose lose’ scenario

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:
Dame Judith Hackitt, speaking at the Semta Skills Awards

At the Semta Skills Awards in London on 1st March, Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of Semta, the not-for-profit organisation tasked with skilling engineering and advanced manufacturing, called upon the Government to rethink the Apprenticeship Levy which she says has turned a win-win scenario to a ‘lose-lose’.

During her speech she said that the new system, which finances apprenticeships, needs urgent radical reforms to reverse the ‘collapse’ of new start apprenticeships, as many companies are postponing or halting apprenticeships.

“We are not asking for the levy to be scrapped but it does need a rethink if it is to achieve what we all want and what the UK needs for the future. What should have been a win-win has become a lose-lose,” Dame Judith said.

Some of the reforms she proposed included replacing the cap of £27,000 per apprentice with a sliding amount depending on the type of apprenticeship, greater flexibility for employers and providers to agree payment schedules, increasing the expiry date of funds, relaxing the rules on transfer of unused levy from 10% to 50%, levy funds to be used only on apprenticeships rather than being diluted to fund other training schemes and streamlining the process of approval of apprenticeship standards.

“We all need to work together to make this as easy to implement as possible, not create unnecessary obstacles when we all want the same thing – more and more young people taking up apprenticeships,” said Dame Judith. “These conversations need to continue elsewhere – and urgently.”

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