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Training providers say urgent review of levy system needed after apprenticeship numbers crash


Last updated: 12th Oct 2017

Following this morning’s publication by the government of the official start numbers for apprenticeships since the levy started in May, Association of Employment and Learning Providers CEO Mark Dawe said:


‘Sadly we saw these numbers coming long before the levy even started because of the way the new funding system has been designed.  Until we see the September starts, we don’t know whether the 3 million target is under threat but the numerical target isn’t really important here.  What is needed are changes that will restore incentives for employers to recruit young apprentices and a guaranteed minimum budget for non-levy payers’ apprenticeships which will ensure that there are opportunities in the many areas of the country without large employers.  


‘AELP is receiving plenty of anecdotal and factual evidence from its members that the government’s own social mobility agenda is being undermined by the levy reforms with fewer lower level apprenticeships available to offer a ladder of opportunity and the damage is also being done in sectors that are crucial for the post-Brexit economy such as hospitality and health and social care. 


‘We therefore need a proper debate about future funding systems and approaches in anticipation of the levy being used up by levy payers.  This has to take a hard look at the barriers which are putting off employers from taking on apprentices such as the level of financial contribution required from them and the amount of time mandated for off-the-job training within an apprenticeship.’

The statistical first release ( shows a 61% decline in total starts in post-levy Q4 2016-17 compared with the same quarter last year.  The numbers for the 16-18 age group fell by 41%.