05 September 2016
Cuts of up to 50% to apprenticeship funding could lead the most deprived areas of the UK to become an “apprentice desert”, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has said.
The government will slash funding from May 2017, with 16 to 18 year olds seeing 30% cuts from the Skills Funding Agency, rising to around 50% in the poorest areas.
A spokesperson for the AELP commented: “Estimates by funding experts vary because of the complexity of the Government’s new funding proposals but the apparent removal of area and disadvantage elements could mean funding rates cut by half for the most vulnerable and needy learners on apprenticeships.
“The end result would be that these learners would have the choice of an apprenticeship taken away from them and areas such as inner London becoming apprenticeship deserts.”
The Independent reported today that 55 Labour MPs have written to Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon to urge him to rethink the government’s policy.
According to the MPs, the reorganisation of funding will hit the poorest hardest in order to benefit those who already live in wealthy areas.
The letter said: “After years of austerity cuts, which have hit those living in the most deprived areas hardest, we are particularly concerned about the removal of the ‘disadvantage uplift’ for an apprentice living in a deprived area. By stark contrast, funding for older apprentices who live in wealthier areas and work at larger employers will actually be increased in many cases.”