The apprenticeship levy was introduced on 1st May decreeing that all employers with a pay bill over £3 million each year would have to make a financial contribution.
Since then, according to DfE figures, the total apprenticeship starts for the period from May to July have fallen by 61% compared to the same period last year – a drop from 113,000 to 43,600. This news is even more dramatic when you look at the figures just prior to the levy – an increase in starts between February and April 2017 compared to the same period the year before, an increase of 47%.
Responding to the dramatic fall in apprenticeship starts, a DfE spokesperson appeared to skirt the issue, saying, “Our apprenticeship reforms have put control back into the hands of employers so they will gain the skilled workforce they need to compete globally.
Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) said, “Sadly we saw these numbers coming long before the levy even started because of the way the new funding system has been designed. Until we see the September starts, we don’t know whether the three million target is under threat but the numerical target isn’t really important here. What is needed are changes that will restore incentives for employers to recruit young apprentices and a guaranteed minimum budget for non-levy payers’ apprenticeships which will ensure that there are opportunities in the many areas of the country without large employers.”
Read more of the FE Week article here.