Half of managers do not plan to use apprenticeship levy fund

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Almost half (49%) of managers have said they would not use their training fund available through apprenticeship levy, with many claiming there were no apprenticeships available in their industry.

A survey by training course provider DPG found that 43% of managers did not believe there were any apprenticeships that were useful for their businesses, despite programmes being offered in many areas including HR, IT and finance.

Communication by the Government might be at the heart of the issue, DPG said, as 63% of the 1,000 managers polled claimed they had never heard of the apprenticeship levy.

The apprenticeship levy was introduced last April and sees employers with an annual pay bill of £3m contribute 0.5% of their payroll towards a levy, which can be claimed back to fund training for new or existing employees.

Paul Drew, managing director at DPG, said: “These findings certainly highlight the need for a more focused approach to communicating the levy and its benefits.

“Gone are the days where apprenticeships were largely for school leavers and manual jobs, but sadly it appears that business perceptions haven’t quite caught up.

“The great range of business skills that can be developed through apprenticeships is a really positive thing and they can bring positive change for all sorts of businesses. The problem is that the Government needs to make this more obvious and needs to make it more about the skills and benefits than about the money itself.”

More than a quarter (27%) of managers said they did not see the benefit in offering apprenticeships for their businesses, while 17% “didn’t see the point” in apprenticeships at all.

According to the Department for Education, there was a 26.5% drop in the number of apprenticeships started in the first quarter of the academic year. The Government said would take some time for take-up of apprenticeships under the new system to bed in.

Drew reminded employers that apprenticeships are not just for new starters, but also for existing staff. “They can be incredibly enriching not just when it comes to increasing in-house skills, but also on a personal fulfilment level for employees,” he added.

The CIPD recently found that almost half of organisations planned to repackage their existing training schemes as apprenticeships in order to access their £15,000 training fund, rather than creating an apprenticeship programme from scratch.

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