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Two steps forward and one step back; or the calm before the storm?

Man studying and taking notes

This week the Government has published it’s regular quarterly Apprenticeship data. For the past 5 years these quarterly reports have shown a remarkably consistent picture. With very little year on year fluctuation in the number of new Apprenticeships started in England in any given period.

However, the latest set of data has revealed an unprecedented 61% drop in the number of Apprenticeships starts between May and July 2017, compared to the same period last year.

This drop has coincided with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy for employers with an annual wage bill of £3M or greater. Although the Levy has increased the amount of money available for Apprenticeships it has also been a very big change and is one that is taking some time to get used to.

Here at Kaplan we know from our work with Levy paying employers that there is a lot of work involved in setting up your Levy Account. Deciding who will manage the fund and how, can be a complex process for large organisations that may have previously had several departmental people development budgets. There is also a question of strategy and priority – where should you use the Levy? To bring in fresh new talent or to upskill existing staff? What about a management programme and do we still need Graduates? These are some of the common questions being asked by employers.

Once an employer has decided how to spend their Levy and on what, they then need to find a training provider to deliver on this plan. This can often involve a lengthy procurement process; it is after all important to choose a partner that can deliver the high quality learning experience your staff deserve.

No wonder then that there has been a drop in Apprenticeships in the quarter.

However, as employers get themselves set-up to maximise the opportunities that the levy brings, we expect the numbers to rebound strongly and for Apprenticeships to go from strength to strength.

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