Apprenticeship start figures have dropped a staggering 27% drop year on year according to new figures. However this is progress on the previous quarter. Many comments have rolled in on the subject.
Verity Davidge, Head of Education and Skills Policy at EEF, said: “Today’s figures should act as a wake-up call to Government which has failed to act on industry’s growing concerns around the Apprenticeship Levy.
“The fact that the drop isn’t as huge as the previous quarter is by no means a cause for celebration as the numbers are a snapshot of the time when most apprenticeships begin. The only ray of hope we can find is the increase in the number of higher apprenticeships.
“This worrying trend is not just hampering employers’ ability to get the skills their business needs, it is taking away invaluable opportunities for the next generation to undertake training and secure a future job.
“It is clear the Apprenticeship Levy and wider reforms aren’t working and need a radical rethink. Government must listen to business concerns and ensure the Levy delivers the demand-led system that was promised to employers.”
In agreement, Neil Carberry, CBI Managing Director of People policy, said: “Today’s drop in apprenticeship starts remains alarming and proves again that the Apprenticeship Levy isn’t yet working for businesses, apprentices and the economy.
“A fresh approach is needed to make skills reforms work. The CBI will continue in its calls to Government to evolve the Apprenticeship Levy into a flexible skills levy, so firms can fund training for their people whatever the form of high quality course they do.
“And policy makers must collaborate more closely with businesses and learning providers to design a stable national framework for skills.
“If we all work together to get this right, confidence can be built that the English skills system won’t keep chopping and changing, enabling firms and skills providers to invest and build new opportunities at local level.”
On a similar note Kathleen Henehan, Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “After years of growth, it’s disappointing to see a big drop in the number of apprenticeships start in the first crucial period since the levy came into effect. The hope is that much of this fall will even out as employers get used to the levy.
“As well as striving to hit its ambitious target of three million starts, the government must put as much effort into raising the quality of apprenticeships so that they become a genuine alternative to more academic career paths.”