Parliament’s Education Committee has announced it is launching an inquiry into the quality and accessibility of apprenticeships and skills training funded by the Education & Skills Funding Agency. It will investigate the effectiveness of training providers and monitor the extent to which those from low income backgrounds are able to access training. The Committee will be accepting written submissions until 5 January 2018.
This news comes hot on the heels of recent survey results from the Department for Education which suggest that the uptake of apprenticeships has fallen by 59% since the introduction of the apprentice levy in April this year. The levy affects all employers; those with a wage bill of more than £3m must pay into the levy, but all employers are able to access funding paid for by the levy. However, employers must now commit to releasing apprentices for one day per week and bear the cost of 10% of offsite training which, it is suggested, is the main driver for the falling numbers of apprentices. There has been criticism of the funding scheme too, with some employers complaining that the funding scheme is complex and takes too long to be processed.