Association of Employment and Learning Providers

Press release – 11 March 2020


Funding commitment pledge for SMEs’ apprenticeships in Budget 2020


Budget 2020 contained an encouraging announcement that the government will ensure that sufficient funding is made available in 2020-21 to support an increase in the number of new high-quality apprenticeships in small and medium sized businesses.

AELP was the first to acknowledge though that the announcement in the Treasury’s red book did not include any numbers in terms of how much new funding will be made available. More details are expected to follow in the forthcoming Spending Review.

Nevertheless in welcoming the announcement as a positive step, AELP chief executive Mark Dawe said:

“After months of persistent lobbying from AELP, FSB, other stakeholders and individual MPs, the government has taken a significant step today to fulfilling the Prime Minister’s promise last summer that apprenticeships should be properly funded.

“While we welcome the impact of the levy in terms of getting large employers to engage in the programme, small businesses have traditionally provided the bedrock for apprenticeship opportunities for young people, especially in areas of the country where levy payers are scarce, and therefore the announcement in the Budget is good news. The Treasury red book however does not say how much new funding and how many extra apprenticeships in SMEs will be secured.

“We should now build on the announcement in the spending review with the government working with employers and providers to find a longer term solution to make the apprenticeship programme sustainable. This means a levelling up which enables more young people are able to get on to the apprenticeship ladder at level 2 and progress, and in the process making employers less reliant on migrant workers.

“The spending review should also sort out the woeful funding of the teaching of applied maths and English, i.e. functional skills, within an apprenticeship programme.”

The Budget 2020 documents can be accessed here:



Contact Aidan Relf on 07710 305182

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