Redistributing the £1billion in unspent and expired apprenticeship levy funding could help tens of thousands of young people forge new careers in the trades sector and construction industry
By filling a huge gap in the numbers of skilled tradespeople needed in the UK we can help meet soaring home repair and improvement demand and the government achieve its bold housebuilding and net zero targets, says HomeServe Foundation
The HomeServe Foundation is calling for greater flexibility in the use of unused or expired apprenticeship levy; believed to be as high at £1billion nationally.
The Foundation, the registered charity of FTSE 250 company HomeServe Plc, is calling for more flexibility for big businesses to easily redistribute or donate unspent funding to help young people forge new careers in the trades sector, a process that could be improved by the government’s emerging national online levy donating portal later this year.
It is also calling on greater flexibility on how the apprenticeship levy can be used, for example funding apprentice wages of at least 50 per cent in the first year, which could dramatically boost uptake.
With demand for domestic trades skills expected to continue to soar over the next decade –plumbers, joiners and electricians in particular – the HomeServe Foundation’s UK Domestic Trades Skills Index shows a gulf of 1.25million construction jobs between now and 2030.
It means more than 300,000 qualified construction apprenticeships are needed, with 228,000 being in key trades such as plumbing, electrics and joinery.
“If we have more flexibility to redistribute and use the £1billion in unspent apprenticeship levy to create more frontline trade skills training and apprenticeships we have a genuine chance to help unemployed people forge new careers and the government achieve their visionary net zero and housebuilding targets”, said Helen Booth, Director of the HomeServe Foundation.
“The pandemic has made matters worse for so many people, particular young people, and demand for tradespeople is sky-rocketing, so using unspent levy to fuel growth in the sector can provide an effective solution to an existing problem, be that through government redistribution, more flexibility to use the levy to fund first year salaries for apprentices or from finding simpler ways for big businesses to donate them.
“We’ve already been able to help a number of businesses who didn’t even know they could redistribute their levy and we’re speaking to many more major employers who want to donate their unspent apprenticeship levy to us, not because they work in the trades sector, but because they have a genuine sense of giving to something meaningful and valuable.
“Boosting apprenticeships and making them more accessible is crucial and having the flexibility to use the apprenticeship levy and build strong new public, private and third sector can help shape new futures for young people.”
The HomeServe Foundation is a national registered charity helping to arm small businesses with all the information and advice they need to bring on an apprentice and help them grow. Information is available here.
HomeServe also has a class-leading apprenticeship training academy based in Nottingham. For more information click here.