Responding to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget today, AELP CEO Mark Dawe said:
‘We welcome the new investment in digital skills. To help reverse the alarming forecasts on UK productivity however, basic digital skills training should be incorporated and funded within every apprenticeship.
‘The chancellor said that he would keep under review how apprenticeship levy money is spent. It should be a very short review because it is far too early to dilute levy spend on anything other than apprenticeships, especially after a 61% drop in programme starts since the levy was introduced.
‘We have no issue with the youth rate of the national minimum wage being raised because social mobility is as much about a young person being able to afford to live as the offer of a job or apprenticeship. But over the longer term with the downgraded growth forecasts in mind, we must remain mindful of what employers can afford – there is a balance to be struck.
‘The social mobility agenda will have been better served if the new investment in post-16 level 3 maths had also been accompanied by addressing the inequitable funding in the functional skills alternative at this age for maths and English. Action has to be taken to improve attainment in the applied learning of these subjects which employers clearly want - £471 per learner doesn’t begin to do it. We’re concerned that those who can are getting more while those that can’t never will.’
Link to Budget documents: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-budget-2017