New chancellor should keep to his word and deliver Apprenticeship Levy reform

Sajid Javid, new chancellor of the exchequer should stay true to his word and deliver an Apprenticeship Levy reform. Making it a broader, more flexible, levy to open up training opportunities for temporary workers while also continuing to support apprenticeships.

This is the opinion of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Mr Javid writing for the Financial Times back in June 2019 said:

I will broaden the apprenticeship levy into a wider skills levy, giving employers the flexibility they need to train their workforce, while ensuring they continue to back apprenticeships.

Earlier in July 2019 the REC launched a petition calling on the Government to introduce reforms to create a flexible training levy. This in turn could benefit 960,000 temporary workers from better skills training using the levy funds their agencies pay to the Treasury.

At the moment 670 REC members have at least £104 million of Apprenticeship Levy funds between them not being spent, as they cannot be used to support the temporary workers on their payrolls.

The REC found that levy funds could help address training temps  in hospitality, health and social care.

This news comes as the CIPD accused the Government of making an “empty promise” when it comes to the Apprenticeship Levy as they have discovered that less than a third of levy paying employers say it will lead to an increase in the amount of money they are spending on training.

Only 31 per cent believe the levy will result in more being paid in to training. This number has fallen from 45 per cent in July 2017, showing people’s faith in the levy is decreasing over time, it was implemented in April 2017.

Sophie Wingfield, head of policy and public affairs at the REC said:

I would like to offer a warm welcome to Sajid Javid in his new role as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Javid takes over at a critical time for business and we look forward to working constructively to make the case for brilliant recruitment as a driver of prosperity.

Javid’s recognition of the need to reform the Apprenticeship Levy is especially welcome. The Levy was implemented with the best of intentions but could help benefit the progression opportunities for many more workers if it could be used for broader training. We would welcome working together to end the scandal of locking-out temporary workers so that critical industries facing skills shortages, like hospitality and social care, can access the talent they need.

At a time when our JobsOutlookdata shows employers remain cautious amid political uncertainty, Javid could share some of that optimism and ‘can do’ spirit by ensuring businesses can access the talent they need.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.