Government apprenticeships a “car crash”

30 August 2016 New government plans for apprenticeships have been dubbed a “car crash” by an employer’s organisation.

30 Aug 2016| News

30 August 2016

New government plans for apprenticeships have been dubbed a “car crash” by an employer’s organisation.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has warned that the sector could be left without enough trainees if the government go ahead with plans to cut funding for courses by as much as 50% as part of the Introduction of the Training Levy in 2017.

Training levies force employers to invest in apprenticeships – a principle widely backed by the labour movement – but both trade unions and bosses have been critical of the way the government has executed its policy.

Around 13,000 apprenticeships are created every year by the motoring industry, but if funding is cut, these vacancies could become unaffordable, the IMI stated.

The organisation believes the slashes to funding are designed to push people towards the government’s “Trailblazer” and “Employer Standards” schemes, which will be funded at £18,000 compared with the currently available £6,000.

However, it warns that many of the courses associated with these new schemes are not ready to be rolled out and will not be fit for purpose before funding for the old schemes is cut, leaving a gap in funding during which apprenticeships will become “economically unviable”.

“Employers around the country will struggle to get training places for their apprentices under this system. It begs the question, how this can possibly support the Governments aim to create more apprenticeships?” Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI said.

He called on Apprentice Minister Robert Halfon to “ensure that the new system is absolutely fit for purpose before the existing one … is rendered unusable”.

The IMI said the government’s actions have been disorgansied due to “piecemeal” changes to apprenticeship funding made by successive Ministers under the Coalition and Conservative governments.

“Information on key things like the levy has been sporadic and untimely and huge amounts of responsibility has been delegated to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) … a body that doesn’t even exist yet!” Steve Nash explained.

Speaking to the Morning Star, UNITE assistant General Secretary Tony Burke agreed there has been “inclarity”.

“It’s an announcement written on the back of a fag packet,” he said, adding that many companies are reluctant to take on apprentices this September because funding will not be available until April, which could lead to a shortfall of trained workers.

“Our big concern is that the government may be going for quantity rather than quality,” he said.