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New Apprentice Funding arrangements are a car crash says IMI

IMI chief says the piecemeal approach of Government apprenticeship reforms is a potential disaster for the motor industry. Steve Nash is urging ministers to undertake a wholesale review before pressing ahead with the changes.

Government has announced new funding arrangements for apprenticeships in connection with introduction of the Training Levy in 2017.  Many of the courses currently used by the motor industry to fill around 13,000 apprentice vacancies every year are subject to cuts of up to 50% in Government funding. This has sparked fears that retail motor sector will suffer a trainee drought from next year, worsening an already critical skills shortage across the country.

IMI believe the Government’s plans are designed to push their “Trailblazer” or “Employer Standards” Apprenticeships.  These courses attract 3 times the funding under the new arrangements than most current training schemes. £18,000 for a level 3 compared to £6,000 the three-year courses available now.

However, with just one exception, none of the new schemes for the motor industry have been completed. Most won’t be fit for purpose for some time.  In the meantime some the existing courses will become economically unviable for colleges to provide leaving employers and learners in difficulty.

The Institute of the Motor industry, the automotive sector’s Professional Body, is hurriedly organising responses from the industry to the Government consultation that closes on September 5th.

Steve Nash IMI CEO said, “These proposed funding levels will leave some vital apprenticeships with up to 50% less funding.  Employers around the country will struggle to get training places for their apprentices under this system. It begs the question, how this can possibly support the Governments aim to create more apprenticeships?   “The reform of the apprenticeship system which was initiated by the coalition government and continues under the Conservatives has been piecemeal, with successive Skills Ministers adding their own elements and responding to different recommendations from various reviews. Information on key things like the levy has been sporadic and untimely and huge amounts of responsibility has been delegated to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA)…..a body that doesn’t even exist as yet! It is no wonder there are unintended consequences from many of the changes currently being rushed through.

“Newly appointed Apprentice Minister, Robert Halfon MP, has a golden opportunity to undertake an end to end review of the whole reform process and ensure that the new system is absolutely fit for purpose before the existing one – which delivered well over 2 million apprentice starts in the last parliament – is rendered unusable.” 

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