30 July 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The apprenticeship levy should be reformed into a "broader skills and training levy", according to a new report.
The report Addressing employer underinvestment in training by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) states that the government's rationale for introducing an apprenticeship levy - poor productivity, declining investment in training and the need to boost the numbers of high-quality apprenticeships - is "clearly justified". Yet, while the government's efforts to boost employer demand for training "are welcome, the apprenticeship levy, alongside associated reforms to the system, alone is unlikely to have the desired effect".
The report states that reforms are beginning to shift provision in a positive direction, but "there is evidence that changes to the system have led to a fall in the number of apprenticeship starts and emerging evidence of rebadging of training effort, which risks undermining the ambitions of the programme".
The CIPD recommends that a broader approach to the levy should include other forms of accredited training, as well as apprenticeships, that are aligned to industrial sector priorities.
It should also be widened to include all employers with over 50 staff to raise additional investment.
Contributions to the fund from the largest employers should be "top-sliced" to provide long-term sustainable funding to address local weakness in skills supply and demand-side failings. This includes interventions and management and leadership initiatives to help boost workforce productivity.