10 August 2015

Build UK Responds to Government’s Apprenticeship Levy Consultation

Build UK has submitted a comprehensive response to Government plans for an economy-wide Apprenticeship Levy on large employers, designed to support the Government’s target of three million new apprenticeship starts by 2020.  The Build UK response aims to open a dialogue with Ministers on how to grow apprenticeship numbers and tackle skills shortages within the current recognised industry framework.

Construction employers who are in-scope to CITB already contribute to the cost of industry training and apprenticeships through the CITB Levy and Grants Scheme. Of the £160 million raised by the CITB Levy last year, over £42 million was paid to employer in grants to support 18,500 apprentices.  Build UK has highlighted that the majority of large employers would not be prepared to pay two levies and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy as proposed would lead to firms withdrawing their consensus support for the existing system which would have a devastating impact on training in the sector.

The key points emphasised in the Build UK response were:

• Build UK members not in-scope to CITB do not support the proposed Apprenticeship Levy as the most effective means of encouraging employers to employ apprentices

• Those employers in-scope to CITB support a model that:
– Implements the proposed Apprenticeship Levy within a model that does not significantly increase costs for large employers
– Retains and significantly reforms the current CITB Levy and Grants Scheme
– Increases the number of high quality apprenticeships in construction.

• Reducing Government funding for apprenticeships and expecting employers to pay substantially more for the provision of apprenticeship training is likely to reduce the number of apprenticeships overall.

Build UK also helped to co-ordinate a cross-industry response to Government on the proposals to ensure a consistent industry message and increase the likelihood of securing the best outcome for the sector.  Discussions with Government will continue over the coming weeks, with further details on the Apprenticeship Levy due to be announced as part of the Spending Review in November.