However serious the flaws in the levy’s design are, they can be fixed, says the CBI’s John Cope
Despite good intentions, the apprenticeship levy hasn’t had the easiest of beginnings. Apprenticeship starts were 39 per cent down in April compared with the same period in 2016 – the clearest sign yet that we’re some way from having a system that works, that encourages companies to invest more in skills and training, and ultimately delivers a chance for people to embark on their career or retrain.
Any policy that reduces the very thing it was designed to encourage needs to be looked at again.
Making the levy work really matters. Skill shortages are the biggest domestic risk to UK growth and competitiveness. The most recent CBI education and skills survey found three-quarters of firms expect to increase their number of high-skilled roles over the coming years, with 61 per cent concerned about a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill them. Apprenticeships are an important way of achieving this.
However serious the levy’s current design flaws are, there is a way forward. It can and must be fixed.