Pre-Budget comment on the apprenticeships levy

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John Chance

The boss of a Teesside college wants Chancellor George Osborne to provide more details on how the proposed apprenticeships levy will be administered.

In the November 2015 Autumn Statement, Mr Osborne confirmed that employers with a wage bill of more than £3m will have to pay a 0.5% levy to fund apprenticeships from 2017.

All employers will receive a £15,000 allowance, paid in vouchers, to offset the payment of the levy.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, Redcar & Cleveland College acting principal John Chance said: “The apprenticeships levy is generally a good idea as long as it is administered correctly. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty over how it will work in practice.

“It is unclear how ministers are going to monitor the quality of this training. The Government has committed to creating three million apprenticeships by 2020 and there is a concern that efforts will be focused on hitting this target rather than delivering the high-quality apprenticeships desired by employers.

“Also, how do employers access the £15,000 allowance and how will funding be allocated to the North East under the new devolution deal?

“The Chancellor needs to provide clarity on these issues if he is to get sufficient buy-in from employers. Uncertainty could create an unwanted situation where companies simply side-step the levy by rebadging other training programmes as apprenticeships.

“This might deliver the three million target desired by Government but won’t address key skills needs in this region.

“If these issues are ironed out, the levy could potentially act as an important catalyst to boost uptake of apprenticeships, which would help to tackle skills shortages and boost the growth of North East businesses.”


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