Nearly 40 per cent of business leaders have no understanding, or have not heard of, the new apprenticeship levy, which is due to be introduced in just over six months, a study has found.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which surveyed 1,600 business people across the UK with Middlesex University, said the government must step up its efforts to explain the changes.
“Firms value apprenticeships as way of developing skills and increasing productivity. However, with just six months to go until the levy is introduced, our research shows the government needs to step up its communication to business,” Marcus Mason, head of education and skills at the BCC, said.
Some 39 per cent did not understand or haven’t heard of the levy, while half did not understand how the funding reforms work above or below the £3m pay bill threshold.
The government needs to ensure that businesses understand how they could benefit from the reforms, because if it just feels like yet another tax then then the policy will have failed. Devolved administrations also need to provide a guarantee that the money raised is ring-fenced and kept for training.
The government should allow businesses to use the levy funding to support other high-quality workplace training or there is a risk of displacing other valid forms of training. Fundamentally, treating apprenticeships as a numbers game would benefit neither businesses nor apprentices themselves.