Future of Work

Employers only have until May to spend their initial funds paid into the apprenticeship levy – but 93% of UK business owners and managers still say they won’t or don’t know if they’ll be making use of the levy.

Findings from CIPD course providers, DPG Plc., also found that well over half of their respondents hadn’t even heard of the levy.

This highlights the need for the Government to better promote and demystify the levy – particularly if it is to hit its 2020 target of 3 million new apprenticeships. A recent freedom of information request* revealed that four out of five businesses paying the levy have still not taken on a single apprentice.

Over a quarter (27%) of UK managers didn’t see the benefit from offering apprenticeships, and a further 17% didn’t see the point of them at all.

These attitudes have resulted in a situation where 93% of UK businesses are still at a stage where they won’t be making full use of the levy. This 93% breaks down to 49% saying outright they wouldn’t be using it, and 44% having no idea if they would.

One main issue is the 43% who stated they wouldn’t be using the levy because they thought there were no apprenticeships available for their industry. In fact, there are many business areas that the levy can be spent on, such as HR, IT, finance, management training, marketing, and design.

Well over half (63%) of respondents stated that they simply hadn’t heard of the levy, indicating that communication may be at the heart of the matter.

Other key findings from DPG’s survey:

  • 93% of UK managers say they won’t or don’t know if they’ll be making use of the levy
  • 49% of respondents said outright they wouldn’t be using the levy
  • 44% had no idea if they will use it
  • 63% hadn’t even heard of the levy
  • 43% said they won’t be using the levy because there are “no apprenticeships available for [their] industry”
  • 27% wouldn’t offer an apprenticeship to their employees because “there’s not enough benefit”
  • 15% thought apprenticeships reduced productivity
  • 17% didn’t see the point in apprenticeships
  • Less than a quarter (24%) would feel very confident taking advantage of the levy

Paul Drew, Managing Director at DPG, said “These findings certainly highlight the need for a more focused approach to communicating the levy and its benefits.

“The great range of business skills that can be developed through apprenticeships is a really positive thing and they can bring constructive change for all sorts of businesses. The problem is that the government needs to make this more obvious and needs to make it more about the skills and benefits than about the money itself.

“Making more of a drive towards selling apprenticeships and their benefits is the way to go. They can be incredibly enriching not just when it comes to increasing in-house skills, but also on a personal fulfilment level for employees. Happy workers can be 12% more productive††, so in the end it can pay dividends.”

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