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Media comment: The government needs to reform the Apprenticeship Levy

18 February 2020

Dear editor,

The news that at least 55 of the largest employers in England have each released more than £1m back to the government, which was meant to be spent on apprentices, is heartbreaking.

In light of the U.K.’s wavering track-record when it comes to investing in skills and higher-level skills in particular, this is even more concerning. With the global business world changing at an incredibly fast-pace, having a well-trained, tech-savvy workforce able to leverage new and emerging technologies will make or break our success.

Apprenticeships are an avenue to achieving upskilling in the workforce and we are disappointed the Government has not ringfenced this levy money on apprenticeships and skills. We believe the Apprenticeship Levy should be reformed into an Apprenticeship and Skills Levy so more organisations would be able to take advantage of the levy and upskill their staff.

Reskilling our workforce will be key to making the most of the digital revolution and boosting our productivity. Yet, a recent report by the Industrial Strategy Council estimates that 20 percent of the workforce will be significantly under-skilled for their jobs by 2030. Worryingly, our own research also revealed that 37% of UK workers don’t feel that they need to learn new skills despite a growing awareness of the impact of technology on jobs.

We hope the government reconsiders and puts this money back into apprenticeships and skills training where it is desperately needed.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Harding FCMA, CGMA
Chief Executive — Management Accounting
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants