AELP welcomes greater possible SFA support for SME training

Chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers Mark Dawe has welcomed reports that suggest the government is rethinking how the Apprenticeship Levy will apply to small employers.

Rather than offering two pounds for every pound invested in apprentices training as is currently envisioned, news reports today suggest that the matching level offered by the Skills Funding Agency to smaller employers may actually hit nine pounds for every pound invested.

Dawe welcomed the news, saying: “We believe smaller employers should pay as little as possible.

“We have been lobbying ministers about the need for a high-level of co-investment by the government in respect of non-levy paying employers.

“These small- and medium-sized enterprises are needed to provide apprenticeship opportunities to young people in the big cities and smaller towns, or rural areas where the levy-paying employers are not always present.”

For many small organisations, any contribution will be prohibitive and we hope the government will consider how it might support these smaller employers.”


Stick to the Levy timeline

Meanwhile Dawe called for government to stick to its timeline for the Levy’s introduction despite the seismic shock delivered by the result of the EU referendum: “We believe that the scheduled April 2017 start for the apprenticeship levy should not be delayed. If anything, the referendum result means that a skilled British workforce will be needed more than ever, so the target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020 takes on a new significance.

“All sectors, especially examples such as construction, hospitality and care, are and will be heavily dependent on having good quality training in place, so it is vital that government investment in skills programmes is maintained backed by the levy.”