EngineeringUK responds to apprenticeships reforms announcement

Mar 18, 2024

Apprenticeships reforrms announcement response - photo of 10 Downing Street

Downing Street has today announced that the Prime Minister is pledging a major reform package to boost apprenticeships and cut red tape for thousands of small businesses. The reforms will include £60 million new investment to enable up to 20,000 more apprenticeships, including for young people and small businesses.

The Government will fully fund apprenticeships in small businesses from 1st April by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21 - reducing costs and burdens for businesses and delivering more opportunities for young people to kick start their careers. It will also slash unnecessary regulatory burdens through Brexit freedoms saving around £150 million per year for thousands of small businesses.

Following the announcement Beatrice Barleon, Head of Policy & Public Affairs at EngineeringUK, comments:

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to offer more support for apprenticeships, particularly recognising the need to support small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with taking on more apprentices.

“We are particularly pleased to see the focus for the support is on young people aged 21 or under. Refocusing some of the apprenticeship budget money for young people is something we have called for in our recent ‘Fit for the future’ report with Lord Willetts and Lord Knight.

“While these measures are certainly a step in the right direction, more still needs to be done to ensure our apprenticeships system is a success. Government needs to consider the recommendations put to them as to how to better support SMEs with the processes surrounding apprenticeships and how to better help young people to be able to access the opportunities available and be ready for work.

“It’s clear there is still an apparent, and growing, mismatch between levy intake and the apprenticeship budget. In light of apprenticeship numbers needing to grow to meet demand in the engineering and technology sector, we would like to see greater transparency as to how this additional money is currently being spent.”

Our recent inquiry report – ‘Fit for the Future: A 5 point plan to grow and sustain engineering and technology apprenticeships for young people’ – is available to download here.

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