CBI responds to apprenticeship levy consultation
The CBI has responded to the Government’s launch of the Apprenticeship Levy funding consultation.
CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, said:
“We welcome the Government’s focus on growing investment in apprenticeships, and business stands ready to step up and increase its own commitment. However, the Apprenticeship Levy in its current form risks turning the clock back on recent progress through poor design and rushed timescales.
“Without a radical rethink it could damage not raise training quality. This really matters because of the crucial importance of closing the skills gap to improving the UK’s lagging productivity. The Government must take time to get this right, and listen properly to the concerns and ideas of the businesses who will be doing their best to make it work.
“The Government’s announcement provides business with much needed information which shows some progress, including support for smaller firms, but fundamental problems remain. The Levy is too narrowly defined. It covers only one type of training and employers can only reclaim off-the-job costs. As a result, valuable forms of training risk being cut back, with quantity put ahead of quality.
“The April 2017 start date will not give firms sufficient time to prepare, so we urge the Government to delay implementation. Though business understands the fiscal challenges, it would be a great mistake to rush ahead before a viable scheme is ready.
“We urge the new Secretary of State to take a step back from the political timetable and consider what is best for building the skills of our young people, to enable the UK to become a high-skilled, high-productivity economy. Business stands ready to work with Government to build a system that delivers for the future and from the outset.”
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