With the news that the target of creating 3m new apprenticeships by 2020 is now unrealistic - the professional body for the motor industry, Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), has warned of the damaging repercussions for businesses:

The government is set to miss the target for workplace training after the Department for Education (DfE) recorded a 24% fall in apprenticeships starts during 2017-18.

With the introduction of the levy in 2017, an initiative designed to encourage businesses to invest in training, it’s been reported that companies have failed to adapt to the changes after describing it as ‘bureaucratic and inflexible’. 

The IMI, a strong advocate of all workplace training, believe it’s critical that government begin to focus on the quality of training, stop focusing on arbitrary numerical targets, and move forward with embedding the reforms that they introduced.

With goalposts being moved and reforms being continuously tweaked, businesses have struggled to come to terms with just how to apply their levy funds to develop their workforce.

Stability Needed Now More Than Ever

The demand for skills in the automotive sector has never been higher, yet apprentice recruitment in recent years has not reflected or kept pace with this.  The whole system needs a sustained period of stability to enable employers to get on top of it and that means, amongst other things, less tweaking of the rules and less revising of funding bands.

The 3m target was always nonsense.  It was a significant increase on what was already a high number of around 2.2 million apprentice starts achieved under the coalition government and assumed the easy assimilation by employers and immediate success of the reforms, which was always an unlikely outcome.

In the face of such broad sweeping changes the sensible focus should always have been on quality. Once employers see good outcomes the numbers take care of themselves.

I am at least pleased to report that we are seeing some significant recovery in the numbers of apprentices being recruited in our sector, which never declined as much as the national figures but were still running well behind the true demand that employers had for fresh talent.

Automotive apprenticeships are heavily relied upon by all areas of the industry and so it’s reassuring to see some recovery.

As an approved End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) the IMI is offering an ever broadening suite of assessment solutions to support employers with Apprentice Standards covering a wide range of technical and non-technical disciplines in automotive. 

We also offer help and advice for employers on how to access and most efficiently use their Levy funds where appropriate, or how to access available funding in the case of non-Levy payers.

Steve Nash, Chief Executive, Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)

About IMIThe IMI is the professional body for individuals working in the motor industry, and the authoritative voice of the sector.

IMI is transforming the automotive industry by setting, upholding and promoting professional standards - driving skills acquisition, establishing clearer career paths, and boosting public confidence.   IMI’s online Professional Register is here to make sure consumers are in skilled, competent and trustworthy hands.

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