Skip to content

Election 2024 – Week 2

Week two of the General Election feels like the week when the election really got into full swing, with TV debates, Nigel Farage entering the race, more humorous pictures of Ed Davey, and Labour’s skills policy announcements.  

Let’s start with the most relevant part of the election for our members – skills policy. Labour confirmed its previous promise for a Skills and Growth Levy, offering levy payers up to 50% flexibility to use levy funds on non-apprenticeship training.  

We had seen the 50% figure fade in the party’s political communications recently, and wondered whether it was ready to drop this arbitrary number, and simply promise ‘more flexibility’, giving it more scope for understanding what will work when/if Labour entered government. Ultimately, putting the 50% figure front and centre will mean it becomes a hostage to fortune.  

That said, there are areas of real promise in its policy, most notably the return of traineeships, and allowing more flexibility in the content of the apprenticeship programme. If implemented correctly, there is potential for these policies to enable the apprenticeship budget to go much further than it currently does. For example, traineeships, if followed by an apprenticeship, could count as part of the 12 month minimum duration of an apprenticeship. There is great potential to link up the system and make it more attractive for employers, relevant for learners and viable for providers.  

Without digging too hard into the detail, it is worth commenting on what the return of traineeships says about the skills system as it stands. Going back a few years we have had Entry to Employment (e2e), Programme-lead apprenticeships (PLAs), Access to Apprenticeships (A2A), Traineeships and more recently Kickstart, all occupying the same space. These programmes have chopped and changed, rebranded, been cut and resurrected. None of this gives any confidence to employers and learners about the type of training on offer. This is our skills system in microcosm. For the sake of all we need a national skills strategy giving us a decades long direction and to stop the chopping and changing. 

Meanwhile, the big political set piece this week was the ITV TV debate on Tuesday. It was a shame that skills policy didn’t get much of a look in, but with the candidates given 45 seconds to answer deeply complex questions it isn’t much of a surprise. I personally found the format very disappointing. Rather than shining a light on the candidates and their plans, it felt like a whole lot of white noise.  

Looking at next week, we expect the manifestos to be launched, with Labour set for the 13 June. AELP will bring you analysis of the manifestos when they are published, though I don’t expect there to be any more big-ticket skills items to be revealed.  

Finally, on the week of D-day commemorations, it is worth contemplating how lucky we are that we all get a say over who governs us and be thankful for the generation that gave their lives. In light of this we encourage all learners to register to vote, which you can do here. A reminder also that you will need to bring your ID to vote.  

Have a great weekend! 


Election 2024 – Week 2

A default description

Last published: 07/06/2024