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Steve Nash, IMI
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@The_IMI repeats its call for two year pause on Apprenticeship Levy clawback 

Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry responds to Boris Johnson’s announcement last night that 16-24 year olds should be guaranteed an apprenticeship route:

“The announcement last night from the Prime Minister is tremendously positive for the future of apprentices. We know more detail is to come later this month and in July, but we sincerely hope that the impact of COVID-19 on current and future apprentice recruitment plans is fully understood.

“In the automotive retail sector, which the Institute of the Motor Industry represents, the pause button has been hit hard on apprenticeship recruitment as our on-going research has identified:

  • 71% of employers stated that the likely number apprentices will fall in 2020 compared to 2019
  • A drop of as much as 65% is expected in the number of apprentices recruited this year. The planned numbers are now only a third of 2019 levels.
  • Only 9% said their apprentice recruitment plans will not change as a result of COVID-19.
  • Training providers are also predicting a fall of on average 38% in their intake for 2020/21 compared to 2019/20.

“With such a sharp drop in apprentice employment and recruitment, larger employers anticipate that their unused Levy funds will be taken back by government. And this will create a dearth of funding just as the sector will be emerging from the COVID-19 downturn. Last month I therefore wrote to Gillian Keegan, MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships & Skills requesting that the current clawback applied to unused Apprenticeship Levy funds is halted for a two year period.  I am currently awaiting a reply.

“We hope government takes heed of the fact that 71% of employer respondents to our research agree that a pause on the Apprentice Levy clawback would improve their prospects of employing apprentices. And that has to be a key factor to support the Prime Minister’s worthy ambition.”

@The_IMI asks government to pause Apprenticeship Levy clawback 

Automotive industry professional body represents concerns of the sector as only 9% of employers believe they will sustain apprentice numbers at pre-COVID-19 level.

Steve Nash wrote to Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Apprenticeships & Skills, requesting that the current clawback applied to unused Apprenticeship Levy funds is halted for a two year period.  As the automotive industry’s largest dedicated awarding and endpoint assessment organisation, the IMI has taken the action in response to calls from its members and largest employers to address the potentially devastating impact of COVID-19 on future skills.

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The IMI is currently undertaking research amongst the largest employers in the sector to understand the effects of COVID-19 on both current apprentice employment and future apprentice recruitment plans.

Whilst the research is on-going, early findings have given the IMI considerable cause for concern:

  • Over a quarter of automotive retail employers (26%) have said they are unlikely to employ any apprentices in 2020
  • 40% are currently reviewing their apprentice plans, with a view to significantly reducing or possibly abandoning apprentice recruitment for the rest of this year
  • Only 9% say their apprentice recruitment plans are unchanged
  • The IMI numbers are in line with the estimation by FISSS (Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards) of a cumulative loss of 119,077 apprentices across all Standards and Frameworks due to COVID-19, representing a 30% fall in numbers in 2020

With such a sharp drop in apprentice employment and recruitment, larger employers anticipate that their unused Levy funds will be taken back by government. And this will create a dearth of funding just as the sector will be emerging from the COVID-19 downturn and needing to upskill to meet the government’s low emission targets.

“The loss of the Apprenticeship Levy funding over the next five years as a consequence of the current downturn in apprentices is hugely concerning”, explained Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI.

“This will have significant implications for the organisations and extensive infrastructure that supports apprentice training in our industry, bearing in mind that automotive apprenticeship delivery requires significant investment in facilities and equipment.

“Large employers in our sector are unanimous in their view that a fixed term cessation of the Levy clawback would make a quantum difference – ideally for up to 2 years. Allowing the levy funds to accrue would, in the opinion of a forum of HR Directors representing the automotive sector’s largest retail groups, greatly assist them in justifying the continued recruitment of apprentices – given that the levy cannot be used for other purposes. The IMI has, therefore, undertaken to represent this view to Under-Secretary of State and we urgently await her response.”

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