“MPs right to criticise Government over Apprenticeship Levy,” says FMB.
The BIS Select Committee is right to criticise the Government for a lack of consultation on the new Apprenticeship Levy, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Sarah McMonagle, Head of External Affairs at the FMB, said: “The findings of today’s report by the BIS Select Committee reflect widespread anxiety within the construction sector that the new Apprenticeship Levy is being implemented without sufficient consultation. With little over a year until the Levy will be introduced, construction SMEs are still in the dark over how the new levy will work alongside the existing Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) levy. Given that the Levy is about enabling more apprenticeship training, and in construction it is SMEs that do the vast majority of training, this lack of clarity is distinctly unhelpful.”
“There needs to be proper consultation with industry on how to develop apprenticeship policies that deliver both a higher standard of training and a greater number of construction apprentices.”
Sarah continued: “Concerns over a lack of consultation are particularly pronounced in the devolved nations. The Levy appears to have been designed with a view to apprenticeship policy in England, but as a form of general taxation it will be applied across the UK, regardless of the very different policy frameworks. The skills shortages experienced by English firms are just as pronounced in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the considerable uncertainty this is causing is damaging. The devolved nations urgently need greater engagement.
“We welcome the recommendation that the Government should work closely with industry on developing training attuned to what each sector needs and the committee of MPs is right to place emphasis on quality. There needs to be proper consultation with industry on how to develop apprenticeship policies that deliver both a higher standard of training and a greater number of construction apprentices. There could be a temptation for Government to water down standards in order to meet its ambitious target of three million apprentices by 2020, but it’s imperative that this does not happen.”