PM announces changes to apprenticeships


In his first economic speech since the Spring Budget, the prime minister has announced some reforms to apprenticeships, which will affect a number of out of home dining businesses. 

The changes include the government fully funding apprenticeships in small businesses from 1 April by paying the cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21.

From the start of April, the government will also increase the amount of funding that employers who are paying the apprenticeship levy can pass onto other businesses. Apprenticeships can currently be funded by a levy-paying-employer transferring up to 25% of their unused levy to a different employer. 

Under the new measures, large employers who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer up to 50% of their funds to support other businesses, including smaller firms, to take on apprentices.

This, the government says, will help SMEs hire more apprentices by reducing costs and enabling more employers to get the skilled workers they need while unlocking more opportunities for young people. 

The system is still broken

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, says that investing in people one of the reasons the hospitality industry sees so many progress through the sector, going from bar to board in a matter of years. 

"The changes to apprenticeships announced by the prime minister are very positive," she says. "Removing the fee for non-levy payers and expanding the definition of SMEs will all benefit smaller businesses. Increasing the levy transfer amount to 50% will free up more funds to be used for training, rather than being left unused. 

"Overall, there is much to be pleased about, and these changes will benefit both businesses and employees. However, the reality is that the entire apprenticeship system is structurally broken. The levy itself needs reform to allow businesses more flexibility with funding and I would urge the government to make that a central pillar of its skills agenda."

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