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Employers have lost £133m of apprenticeship levy funds, new report says

Many employers believe the money paid into the apprenticeship levy could only be used to fund training for new entrants into the workplace, new report finds. 


Education and training platform Learning Curve Group has published a report explaining there are many misconceptions around the word ‘apprentice’.


The apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2017 to increase the number of people earning while they learn and create an alternative route into work other than via university.


However, Learning Curve Group said it’s clear that many businesses are still uncertain about the levy, what it means and how best to use it.


Wanting to find out exactly what was stopping employers from utilising the levy funds, the organisation polled CIPD members from more than 600 businesses to find out whether they were spending their funds, and if not, why not.


The platform said employers have lost £133m of unspent funds that have already expired - money that they paid in that they will no longer be able to access.


The research explained that employers are not against the levy in principle, but for many they simply don’t believe the system provides the right type of training they need.


Learning Curve Group’s survey showed that many employers incorrectly believed that money they paid into the levy could only be used to fund training for new entrants into the workplace.


Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of survey respondents said the eligibility criteria was one of the main concerns they had about apprenticeships.


Other findings included:

  • Two in five (41 percent) respondents to survey also said the complexity of the system was preventing them from engaging with it;
  • Nearly a third (28 percent) of respondents said they struggled to get staff to engage with apprenticeships;
  • Nearly 60 percent (59) said the off-the-job training requirement was their main issue or concern with the levy to date;
  • Almost a quarter (24 percent) of respondents said the available apprenticeship programmes were just not relevant to their industry or their skills needs.
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