Boost may kick-start apprenticeship levy – but retraining scheme could prove most vital for social mobility

image: Rob Alder, Head of Business Development at AAT
Tuesday 2 October 2018 - 13:45

"In his speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Chancellor Philip Hammond has shown his determination to ensure that a Conservative Government delivers for British businesses and fights for our children’s future – and plans to improve the Apprenticeship Levy in order to enable more people to benefit from high-quality training could just be the boost that the scheme requires."

"It’s been well documented that apprenticeship starts have fallen off a cliff since the Levy was introduced. While there have been small success stories, such as a 9% rise of apprenticeships in the accountancy sector across levels 2-4 between August 2017 and April 2018, there was a 39% fall at these levels across all industries. The Government has all but conceded defeat in its original target of three million apprenticeship starts by 2020 – but today’s package of reforms might at least provide a kick-start to the Levy’s original aims of increasing the quality and quantity of available apprenticeships."

"But the UK’s skills needs extend well beyond the scope of apprenticeships. Workers need fresh training and upskilling opportunities throughout their careers; especially given new figures showing that the average Briton retains for an entirely new role twice within their working life. That is why the Chancellor’s announcement of £100m to deliver a world-class National Retraining Scheme might prove to be the most critical in terms of helping social mobility. Upskilling Britain’s workers will directly contribute to greater productivity and thus drive the economy as a whole in the right direction."

Rob Alder is Head of Business Development at AAT