The AELP National Conference took place on Monday and Tuesday with Skills Minister Anne Milton making an opening speech, which left many disappointed.
She said, “Issues with the 10-per-cent fee that small businesses must pay when they take on apprentices have been ‘noted’, but there will be no announcement on a rule change anytime soon.”
There had been anticipation that she might scrap the fee altogether and, while she didn’t rule it out, she told conference delegates that she was not sure that co-investment was the real reason for the sluggish new apprenticeship numbers.
“If you took away the 10-per-cent co-investment there would be less money in the pot to do apprenticeships. You get less apprentices for your money.”
The AELP had been campaigning for the removal of the 10-per-cent rule as it believed it was putting SMEs off and was the reason why apprenticeship starts were so low – starts for March were down 52 per cent compared with the same period in 2017.