Experts warn apprenticeship reforms will deter small businesses from hiring

Changes to the government’s apprenticeship funding scheme will create bureaucracy and financial burden to employers, reveals Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers.

Segal speaks in response to the government’s announcement last year that in the future employers will directly receive money for running apprenticeships through the tax system. They will also have to pay an upfront sum to take on an apprentice, as opposed to the current system in which training providers and colleges act as a portal for matching employers with apprentices. The “administrative burden of claiming funding” will therefore shift from the training providers and colleges to employers.

The governments has made some effort to amend the foreseen problems with apprenticeship credits, financial support for employers offering apprenticeship places to 16 and 17-year-olds and additional funding for small businesses. However, they do little to simplify the, already complicated, process and the financial support offered will not match the extra costs incurred to employers.

Segal writes: “If the government insists on these reforms, we will see fewer businesses offering apprenticeships, especially to young people. This cannot be right. We must listen to employers and actually make changes based on evidence of what will work.”