Government puts Welsh apprenticeship plans on ice

Wales’ deputy skills minister Julie James has confirmed that the nation’s plans to improve their apprenticeship sector have to wait because the government needs to focus on the apprenticeship levy.


‘‘We’re very distressed’’

In July, Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that all of the UK’s large businesses will have to pay an apprenticeship tax from 2017, with all the money going towards creating three million apprenticeships by 2020.

Speaking on the BBC’s Wales at Work programme, the minister has said there are absolutely no plans to focus specifically on Wales’ apprenticeship sector.

‘‘We’re very distressed about it because we’re in the process of consulting on our own policy and this cuts right across,’’ said James, who added that this was an ‘‘attack on the devolved nations.’’

‘‘I don’t think they gave any thought to devolution whatsoever,’’ continued James.

The minister then travelled to Newport to give a speech on the apprenticeship sector, stressing the need to hire more young people in order to fill the skills gap in sectors such as engineering and IT.

‘‘We must continue to grow apprenticeships in priority sectors and stretch them to meet emerging skill shortages in technical and highly skilled occupations, such as engineering and IT that will drive productivity,’’ declared James.