The Institute of Fiscal Studies yesterday published its comments on the apprenticeship levy. Key points are

  • whilst only 2% of employers will pay the levy, 60% of employees work for an employer who will pay the levy
  • the levy raised is set to be far greater than the levy to be spent on apprenticeship training, £2.8bn versus £640m
  • there is a risk that apprenticeships will be devalued as existing training schemes are simply relabelled
  • quality will suffer as a result of the expansion of new standards.

We at ARC have met with key government officials to try and address the inordinate impact on agencies supplying workers, and have developed a plan to level the playing field. However, there is a wider issue. From discussions with the CBI and after reviewing extensive published comment about the levy and its development there does seem to be a very wide range of other concerns across many sectors and even across jurisdictions. We will be discussing some of these issues and assessing the impact on recruitment agencies at our ARC conference to be held in London on 9th February.

I believe that the cause for apprenticeships is worthy but that its delivery and objectives may fall short as things stand. ARC members I am sure would prefer the levy to be effective and beneficial, adding long term positives and values to our workforce. An implication from the IFS report is that it currently may suit training providers at the expense of hard pressed employers.