Twas (almost) the night before Christmas and all through the House (s of Parliament)
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
MP’s stockings were hung up by the chimney with care
In hope that St Nicholas would soon to be there
Ministers were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of policies danced round in their heads
So looking back now at the year 2018
What naughty and nice skills and employment policy have there been?
Let’s start with the Levy, because it hasn’t gone away
We published a report – A Levy Price to Pay
We found there were challenges, pit falls and less starts
So we called on the Government to begin thinking smart
We made our Santa list on how to get the Levy back on track
And we were pleased when the Chancellor pulled out of his Budget sack
More flexibility on transferring funds from their Levy pot
And some cash for new standards, as we found there wasn’t a lot.
Reductions in the amount non-Levy payers pay
And then there was the big one, us policy peeps would say
An entire Review of the Levy – hip hip hooray!
Let’s move on now to technical education
To boost vocational pathways there’s to be a new qualification.
They are called T Levels their remit to be
Provide a solid route to employment, apprenticeships or H.E.
But not everyone’s jumped at this new policy
With many sceptical about how easy delivering placements might be
But with some greater flexibilities around how these are run
Our fight to promote vocational education might just be won.
We’ve already secured UCAS points for T level learners
And with experience and knowledge these students could become the biggest earners.
We took our annual trip to the Low Pay Commission
Having been invited to give evidence following our extensive submission.
We made our usual call for a bigger boost to apprentice pay
And suggested the target for the NLW did not stray.
But we did say the Government must act with care
As we still don’t know how this thing called “Brexit” is going to fare.
The Government announced the increases for next year
Which were as expected, but we’re not quite in the clear
As next April will see rates for pensions auto-enrolment rise
And who knows what other employment costs might come as a surprise!
We had the first year of gender pay reporting
Which we had been concerned about if figures looked distorting.
But happy to say manufacturers stepped up to the plate
With narratives and action plans that they did create.
We published our own benchmark so employers can see
How they compared to their counterparts in the industry.
And ethnicity reporting is now on the brink
So we’ve just put in our submission on what manufacturers’ think.
So keep an eye out for that in the New Year
As what is required from employers will soon be made clear.
Now I try and stay away from the dreaded “B” word
As any talk about Brexit tends to get a bit absurd
We’ve been very clear that in the case of no-deal
Is the worst possible scenario that manufacturers could feel.
But if we focus quickly on post-Brexit migration
In the last week of Parliament there was quite the revelation
Yes the publication of the White Paper – it’s finally here
Don’t worry Government we’ve only been waiting a year!
We got some wins, including an expanded definition of skill
But there was something that gave manufacturers a bit of a chill
The prospect of a minimum salary of £30,000
But don’t worry yet it’s not as bad as it sounds
As reading the detail you will actually see
It’s not a figure set in stone, a consultation there will be.
I better stop now else I’ll go on forever
And I’m out of rhymes as I’m really not that clever.
So there is only one more thing that’s really left to say
Before we break up for Christmas and let our readers on their way
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
See you all in 2019, from the Policy team here!