Apprenticeship Levy Tackled at Industry Skills Forum

Apprenticeship Levy Tackled at Industry Skills Forum

The Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service (EUIAS) was among a gathering of leading HR and operational professionals that met recently to address the changing apprenticeship landscape.

Steven Green (pictured above), Provider Engagement Manager at the EUIAS, was joined by representatives from energy and utilities firms including SGN, Siemens, Morrison Utility Services and FCC Environment, plus those from other sectors.

Much of the discussion on the day centred around the continuing misunderstanding of the levy, regarded by some as a tax, which is causing some employers’ reluctance to explore apprenticeships through uncertainty on how to proceed.

The levy came into force last April, and qualifying companies have two years from making their initial levy payments to reclaim some of the funds spent on apprenticeships. However there are conditions which could mean delays that invalidate some claims.

While delays could cause problems, the same could be said for rushing to set apprenticeships up, as the forum delegates discussed – the levy is unlikely to be able to fund the entire spend. Another concern expressed on the day was the potential for recruitment standards to be compromised by a race to hire new apprentices.

Mr Green said: “Apprenticeships are a major supply line to resource existing skills shortages in the energy and utilities sector, so more businesses need to involve themselves in the process. The best advice is to set up apprenticeships in line with business need, alongside training existing staff.”

The Industry Skills Forum was created by Develop Training Ltd as a platform for stakeholders to build relationships and facilitate discussion on skills shortages in the UK to build understanding and address key issues.

Watch the delegates’ reflections from the Industry Skills Forum here.