The government has launched a consultation on its proposal to introduce an apprenticeship levy, which would enable employers to choose and pay for apprenticeship training.
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills is asking training organisations, industry bodies and businesses to come forward with their views on how to pay the levy, how it could work for nationwide employers and how best to give employers control of apprenticeships by October 2.
The government has a target to create three million new apprenticeships in the next five years and has introduced initiatives such as abolishing employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25 in a bid to stimulate the sector.
“However, government alone cannot solve the skills challenge we face,” said Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for BIS. “Nobody understands the skills employers need better than the employers themselves, so they must be placed in the driving seat. That is why we are introducing an apprenticeship levy that will let employers choose and pay for the apprenticeship training they want.”
UK retailers provide around 90,000 apprenticeships or almost 15% of the total across the country, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said it is critical that the consultation process does not devalue the Level 2 Apprenticeship.
“For those completing them they are a vital gateway to long term employment and they are the most widely used apprenticeship in retail.
“If these valuable courses do not form a significant part of what the apprenticeship levy delivers, not only will the government be cutting off important training opportunities for thousands of people, they will also undoubtedly fall short of their own, laudable target of three million apprentices by the end of this parliament.”