Apprentice Numbers Fall – Is the Levy to Blame?
Department of Education figures reveal that individuals starting apprenticeships has fallen by a dramatic 59%. A total of 48,000 began an apprenticeship in the past three months, compared with 117,800 for the same period last year.
Lord Blunkett, the former education secretary, described the drop as “catastrophic,” considering that the core aim of the levy is to increase opportunities for young adults, tackle skill shortages and build on home soil productivity.
Verity Davidge, Head of Education and Skills policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said the levy had in some cases resulted in businesses being unable to provide apprenticeships. “We continue to hear stories from companies who have hit a brick wall in trying to get levy-supported apprenticeships off the ground,” she commented.
Fashion Enter, sister company to FashionCapital, is the leading training provider in England for garment technology can confirm that they too have seen a dip in new enrolments. However, the feeling is that this is a temporary blip that regularly occurs when new policies come into place.
CEO of Fashion Enter Jenny Holloway comments: “Certainly the willingness is there but the new system is administration heavy on the employers. At Fashion Enter we actually undertake and prepare all the paperwork internally so we can leave our 33 retail and manufacturing clients to get on with their day job! This is a transitional time and judging by the current conversations we are undertaking I think there will be a flurry of new apprentices by early next year. Fundamentally apprenticeships are100% right especially for technical skills!”