Despite the slow growth in apprenticeship starts since the introduction of the apprenticeship Levy, this new funding mechanism is precisely what the UK needs to bridge its widening skills gap.

The suggestion of a new tax was never likely to be welcomed with open arms, but it is important to consider the long term benefits that apprenticeships bring to UK businesses of all sizes.

The long term benefits of putting this tax to effective and well considered use far outweigh the inconvenience of having to shell out what is essentially loose change in the short-term.

We recently conducted a survey of both Levy paying, those employers with a pay bill over £3m each year, and SME employers, to learn more about their experiences with apprentices.

Our findings showed that of the nearly 50% of employers playing an active role in facilitating apprenticeship learning in their business there is an overwhelmingly positive response to the benefits that apprentices have had.

For the remaining 50% of firms that have failed to adopt the programme, their resistance seems to be based on the counter argument; that apprentices will not add any value to their business.

This is clearly an area for the government to intervene and ensure the market receives the boost it requires to have a fighting chance of meeting the 3m apprenticeships target set for 2020.

In today’s political and economic climate it is more important than ever to ensure the security of the economy by closing the skills gap. One way of achieving this is to allow SME businesses the resources to afford the on-boarding of apprentices. In the long-term, businesses will reap the benefits on a national scale.

Theresa May, when setting out her election manifesto, suggested that the Levy could be introduced as a way to subsidise apprentices’ wages, but with the interruption of Brexit negotiations, this has been left by the wayside.

A quicker fix could be found in the form of an apprenticeship mandate for businesses depending on their size.

SMEs are not likely to welcome this regulatory intervention in the short term, but it might just trigger them to see the tangible benefits that their competitors have enjoyed.

Not only would this mandatory engagement with apprenticeships result in zero cost the Treasury, but would immediately help to accelerate the apprenticeship market and thus achieve a much needed shot in the arm for providers.

The Levy has received a lot of scrutiny both before and after its implementation, however not all criticisms have necessarily been just.

The negative press around the Levy has led to damaging preconceptions, hindering the way it has been received among UK businesses.

It is important to take an objective view of what this Levy means for both the British economy and workforce, particularly with long term solutions in mind.

Ignorance, of both the options for onboarding apprentices, and the benefits that apprentices could bring to businesses, should no longer be an excuse.

Phillip Speed, Education Finance Specialist, Nucleus Commercial Finance

About Nucleus: Nucleus Commercial Finance provides alternative finance for businesses. The experienced team takes a solutions-based approach to structure finance deals that fit each individual business. This tailored and transparent approach combines the flexibility of an alternative lender with the stability and product range of bank finance, spanning overdrafts,  cash flow finance, invoice finance, property finance, asset funding and construction finance. Click here for more details.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page