Pre-Brexit the Apprenticeship Levy was pushing ahead at quite a pace, but a lot has changed in a month. A new cabinet and a change in departmental responsibilities has meant that knowing what is going to happen and when is as predictable as sunshine is during the British summer.
The pressure is rising rapidly as responsibilities change
The big question many employers are now asking is – is the apprenticeship levy going ahead? The official line from policy-makers is that it is “business as usual” and the apprenticeship levy will go ahead. Of course, when and in what form are the big unanswered questions.
The responsibility for apprenticeships now falls under the responsibility of Department for Education, headed up by Justine Greening MP, the new Secretary of State. Robert Halfon MP has been given the title of Minister of State for Apprenticeships. So the apprenticeship levy policy proposal must now be cleared by them.
There is much speculation over what will happen next. We expect that the apprenticeship levy will go ahead, however when it will go ahead is a question now being asked. It may also be that the new Ministers want to make changes to the mechanism – there are big unknowns.
Is the guidance hiding behind the clouds?
One of the main reasons why people are questioning whether the levy will go ahead is due to the lack of the funding guidance. The funding guidance was due to be published at the end of June, however the referendum and change of Government has led to some major push backs.
For employers, the funding guidance is vital. Employers cannot fully plan for the levy or make future plans to recruit apprentices without knowing what funds they will have available. This applies to both levy and non-levy payers.
If and when the guidance does come out it should be jam-packed with information on the funding bands, co-investment rates, incentive payments, the mechanics of how the levy will operate across the devolved administrations and how employers can themselves become providers. A lot of information to digest – that’s why we will be hosting a free webinar.
A perfect storm gives greater cause for a delay – join our campaign
EEF is leading a campaign to delay the implementation of the levy. The continued delay to the funding guidance, the concerns employers have around the mechanics of the levy and now the uncertainty employers are facing following the EU referendum means that the levy needs to be delayed. If you want to get involved in our campaign please contact us:
Verity O’Keefe, Senior Employment and Skills Policy Adviser, firstname.lastname@example.org