In Fulfilling Our Potential. Delivering the Apprentices the Economy Needs, The 5% Club, which includes Energy & Utility Skills member Balfour Beatty, has also detailed the concerns it has with current levy provisions which it believes need to be addressed to prepare the UK workforce for the post-Brexit economy.
The Club claims the levy currently will not increase the number of apprentices taken on in the “short to medium term,” also that it should be targeted on areas of the UK economy where skills training is in most need. The Club calls for legislative changes including permitting levy-paying companies to use funds to cover travel to training centres or paying for accommodation, that “can make some apprenticeships untenable,” and that alternative actions should be considered alongside the levy to improve social mobility, such as the provision of extra funding for employers to provide opportunities for young people with poor school results.
Leo Quinn, Chief Executive of Balfour Beatty, is the Founder and Chairman of the 5% Club. He said: “The apprenticeship levy is a real opportunity to plug the skills gap which exists across the economy. But while business leaders undoubtedly need to step up and review their strategies for upskilling and reskilling the workforce, the levy in its current form is clearly failing to provide the means to deliver the Government’s ambitions.
“The introduction of the levy was visionary. However, there is much to be done and time is of the essence: it will take several years before the apprentices we are recruiting and training now are fully up to speed. Refinements and reforms to the levy must happen now.
“(The 5% Club) hopes the paper adds usefully to the development and successful implementation of this vital national policy.”
The paper is based on interviews and consultations with 5% Club members which includes businesses of various sizes and sectors such as rail and construction. It follows the release of papers calling for other measures to address the skills landscape: Providing the Skilled Workforce for post-Brexit Britain and Bridges and Ladders: Social Mobility and a Skilled Workforce.
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