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AELP welcomes apprenticeships reform package

AELP has backed a government reforms package announced today (Monday 18 March) which could see 20,000 more young people access the apprenticeship system.

At a speech to the Business Connect conference, Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, will announce a range of measures to support small and medium sized employers (SMEs). This consists of £60 million in additional investment to enable up to 20,000 more apprenticeships, including for young people and small businesses. Specifically on apprenticeships, the reforms will see the removal of co-investment costs from non-levy paying employers from April 2024 for apprentices under the age of 22, fully funding this provision; an increase in the levy transfer cap from 25% to 50%; as well as the DfE budget for apprenticeships increasing to “over £2.7 billion” from next year.

The announcement comes following heavy campaigning by AELP urging the government to reform the way the apprenticeship system works to make it much easier for SMEs to take on apprentices. Over 99% of businesses are SMEs, so they play a vital role in filling the UK’s skills gap and traditionally take on more younger apprentices as well as those at entry level and from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Work undertaken by AELP as part of a wider project to simplify apprenticeships and make them more accessible was shared with the government last year. It showed how the cost of collecting and administering co-investment was in many cases costing providers more than they were getting back from employers from the 5% employer contribution.

Simon Ashworth, AELP Director of Policy, said:

“We will only resolve the country’s skills shortages with extra investment for apprenticeships and by making it easier for smaller employers to take on apprentices. Today’s package of changes is very welcome and could lead to 20,000 more young people accessing apprenticeship opportunities.

"In recent months, AELP has pushed heavily for reforms and extra investment to make it easier for young people and SMEs to access the apprenticeship system. These announcements are to be welcomed, and, in particular, it’s good to see the end of co-investment for young people. This is not only a cost barrier to SMEs, but our work showed the cost and bureaucracy burden to training providers usually outweighed the cash this actually brought in.

"Moving forward, we would like to see the end to co-investment for all-age apprenticeships and we will continue to lobby the government to ensure training providers are not unfairly penalised when an employer stops paying their contribution which voids access to the final 20% completion payment.”

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is a national membership body, proudly representing its many member organisations. AELP members support thousands of businesses and millions of learners in England by delivering a wide range of training, vocational learning, and employability programmes.

For further information or interviews please contact Matt Strong, Communications Manager, AELP, on 07920 161685 or [email protected]

AELP welcomes apprenticeships reform package

AELP has backed a government reforms package announced - view details below.

Last published: 18/03/2024