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Employers and politicians lobbied on “catastrophic” apprenticeship cuts

Employers and politicians lobbied on “catastrophic” apprenticeship cuts

Employers, Members of the Senedd and Members of Parliament across Wales are now all aware of the Welsh Government’s proposal to slash 24.5% – the equivalent of £38 million – from the apprenticeship budget, described by training providers as “catastrophic”.

The National Training Federation for Wales (NTFW) has been working around the clock to spread the message about the huge impact the proposed cuts will have on businesses, young people and work-based learning providers.

Detailed analysis by the NTFW suggests that:

  • around 10,000 apprenticeships will be lost in 2024/25 – a fall of approximately 50% and the most rapid decline in training opportunities since devolution.
  • the proposed 24.5% cut – £38m – is a combination of a 3.65% cut to the apprenticeship budget and the loss of previous European Union funding.
  • The cuts would fall disproportionately on young people aged 16-24 years, those in the lowest socio-economic groups, women and people of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity.
  • anchor companies who wish to expand their apprenticeships and new inward investment by businesses will be impacted.
  • The proposed cuts come on top of £17.5m recently slashed from the apprenticeships budget.

The NTFW and CollegesWales have jointly written to politicians and employers making them aware of the impact for apprenticeships.

The NTFW’s strategic director Lisa Mytton is continuing talks with the Welsh Government but there are no signs of a U-turn or reduction on the cuts at the moment.

“We must thank the many employers who have written to Economy Minister Vaughan Gething expressing their concern in the strongest possible terms about the proposed apprenticeship budget cuts,” she said. “The support we have received has been overwhelming.

“Some have questioned how the minister could prioritise skills and young people in his recent economic mission statement whilst slashing the apprenticeship budget. Like all NTFW members, employers consider his statement to contradict the reality of the situation.

“The impact on employers who pay the apprenticeship levy and career opportunities for thousands of young people in Wales will be huge.

“There is still time for the Welsh Government to avoid catastrophic and irreversible damage to the apprenticeships programme in Wales.

“Skills and further education are fundamental to our economic recovery. The time to invest in our learners and workers is now.”

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