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Apprenticeship levy will not fill skills gap, MPs claim

The new apprenticeship levy lacks focus and will not fill the widening skills gap unless it is concentrated on sectors and regions where training is most needed, MPs said in a report published today.

The education and business select committees’ subcommittee on education, skills and the economy said that the government’s apprenticeship levy, which comes into force next week, should place far more emphasis on outcomes, rather than simply raising participation levels.

It recommends the government publishes an annual report setting out the skills shortages on a national, regional and sector-specific basis, as well as setting clear targets to ensure that uptake of apprenticeships in these areas is prioritised.

It also calls for the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) to have a greater role in regulating new end-point assessments.

Neil Carmichael MP, chair of the education committee and co-chair of the subcommittee on education, skills and the economy, said: “Apprenticeships are vital if we are to close the skills gap, which could grow wider post-Brexit.

“However, ministers must recognise that apprenticeships are a means to an end and not an end in themselves. They need to place greater emphasis on outcomes, focussing on areas of the economy where training is most needed, and ensuring quantity does not trump quality.” 

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