The UK’s new chancellor of the exchequer should deliver on his commitment to broaden the apprenticeship levy, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has said.
Sajid Javid has been appointed as the new chancellor and, in June, said he would broaden the apprenticeship levy into a wider skills levy, giving employers the flexibility they need to train their workforce, while ensuring they continue to back apprenticeships.
The REC agrees that a broader, more flexible levy is needed to open up training opportunities for temporary workers while also continuing to support apprenticeships.
Earlier this month the confederation launched a petition calling on the government to introduce reforms to create a flexible training levy. It said this would enable as many as 960,000 temporary workers to benefit from better skills training using the levy funds their agencies pay to the Treasury.
It is also found that 670 REC members have a total of at least £104m of apprenticeship levy funds going unspent, because it can’t be used to support the temporary workers on their payrolls.
The confederation said courses which could lead to significant pay rises and higher productivity would be unlocked if money paid for the apprenticeship levy could also be used on other high quality qualifications as part of a skills levy.
Sophie Wingfield, head of policy and public affairs, at the REC said: “Javid’s recognition of the need to reform the apprenticeship levy is especially welcome.
“The levy was implemented with the best of intentions but could help benefit the progression opportunities for many more workers if it could be used for broader training. We would welcome working together to end the scandal of locking-out temporary workers so that critical industries facing skills shortages, like hospitality and social care, can access the talent they need.”