In the recent Budget, Philip Hammond announced that he is kick-starting the apprenticeship programme with a £695 million injection. But Steve Nash, chief executive at the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), believes that the Chancellor may have “undermined the impact of the changes for small businesses by delaying their implementation.”
Writing in the TES, Mr Nash believes that with the implementation of the Levy reduction for SMEs delayed until next April, many small businesses will try to protect their cash flow and therefore delay their apprenticeship starts.
The motor retail industry is a strong advocate of apprenticeships relying on ‘young blood’ to meet the changes and challenges of the sector, and Mr Nash believes that there is a ‘critical skills gap’ in the industry. He writes that apprenticeships still have ‘an image problem’, citing IMI research that shows that “only 36% of parents would encourage their child to do an apprenticeship” and that “more than one in ten think that people who choose vocational training are not as clever as those who take an academic route after school.”
The perception that apprenticeships are a second-class option for school leavers has increased in the last four years, despite the government focusing on vocational training. Mr Nash has called for a “better understanding and communication among schools, employers and career advisers about the career choices available to young people through apprenticeships.”