From education to employment

The apprenticeship levy’s 5-year legacy

In his address to the House of Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak announced that to lift the country’s “growth and productivity we need the private sector to train more, invest more, and innovate more”. He said the government would review whether the current tax system, including the apprenticeship levy, was “doing enough to incentivise businesses to invest in the right kinds of training”. Whilst this review was generally welcomed by experts, the majority of business leaders agree that the government has not done enough to address the imbalance in skills training nor the current talent crisis.

According to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the apprenticeship levy has failed on every measure and will undermine investment in skills and economic recovery without significant reform. In fact, less than one in five employers support the UK government’s apprenticeship levy and feel more investment is needed in technology and workforce development.

Alan Hiddleston, Senior Director, International Corporate Learning at D2L offers the following statement:

“As indicated by the government’s address, the demand for training programmes and opportunities will likely grow in the coming months. There will need to be a serious cultural change – the way in which we value, deliver and measure learning will need to be reviewed, and there needs to be further collaboration between government, education and enterprise. All have a joint responsibility to help prepare individuals for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

“As the government works with businesses to reform the levy to make it workable, it’s important that businesses also look at ways that they can ensure apprenticeships are a success. In order to attract and retain potential talent, businesses need to shift away from the traditional mode of learning. The modern-day workforce wants to use and hone their digital skills, and will assume that employers will recognise this and have tools in place that will enable them to make full use of their expertise. It’s therefore key that businesses are exploiting technologies available that can help accommodate and advance the future generation of workers’ skills now.

“With shorter courses that condense skills and abilities into ‘bitesize chunks’, workers can retrain and top up their skills on a regular basis, effectively stacking their credentials as they go. A significant advantage of providing these smaller learning modules is that businesses can tailor their courses and customise both technical and ‘soft’ skills sets as required.

“Equally, working with industry, institutions must ensure that desirable skills are embedded within their curriculum and delivered across all courses. Only then can we truly address the skills gap and future learning concerns from all angles, helping to kickstart the UK’s economic recovery.”

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