BSRIA says that due time and care should be taken on the delivery and details of the government’s apprenticeship levy.
Employers in any sector will have to pay the levy if they have a pay bill over £3m a year. Firms will have to begin paying the levy from 6th April 2017 and will be able to start claiming funding from the following month. Types of apprenticeship will now come under 15 different funding bands, ranging from £1,500 to £27,000 per apprentice, depending on the complexity of the programme.
The government confirmed that industries where a levy is already imposed – including construction through the CITB – will have to pay both levies as required.
Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “We welcome the Government’s emphasis on increasing investment in apprenticeships, and industry is ready to stimulate more training and apprenticeships. However, there is a concern that the apprenticeship levy could run the risk of being compromised by hasty deadlines. Government must take time to get this right.
What is paramount is the critical importance of closing the industry skills gap. Apprenticeships provide the backbone for a career in engineering for many employees and future employees within the industry and no compromises should be made regarding them.
BSRIA understands that the CITB has agreed a transition package with firms paying both the CITB levy and the apprenticeship levy next year.
Under the plans, employers below the £3m levy-paying threshold will only have to pay 10 per cent contributions towards the cost of training and assessment, meaning most small employers should not end up paying more towards training costs than they currently do.
But it is irrelevant that a lot of our members will be not be directly affected since it is the larger companies (with the £3m and higher levy-paying threshold) who are going to have to pay twice. Such companies should also be allowed to lead by example regarding skills, training and industry careers, which this levy will not enable them to do. It is short-sighted of the government.”
A consultation on the proposals will run until next month, with employers invited to submit their comments to the Department for Education.