Apprenticeship numbers in massive fall after levy introduction

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The number of people starting apprenticeships has fallen significantly.

In the last three months of the 2017 academic year, 48,000 people started an apprenticeship. This is down from 117,000 for the same period last year.

The fall comes after the government introduced the apprenticeship levy earlier in the year, which was designed to make apprenticeships more attractive to individuals and organisations.

The government said it had anticipated an initial fall but that the levy would "support productivity growth through the increase in training."

But industry response to the fall in apprentice numbers has focused on issues with the levy itself, with the manufacturers' organisation the EEF calling the drop in apprentice numbers "unsurprising."

It added: "We continue to hear stories from companies who have hit a brick wall in trying to get Levy supported apprenticeships off the ground."

Neil Bentley, CEO of vocational training provider WorldSkillsUK, blamed the drop on companies struggling to understand the levy.

Specific features of the levy have also been singled out as reducing the attractiveness of apprenticeships to organisations: the requirement for employers to release apprentices for one day per week of off-site training, for example, increases costs.

What is your experience of the apprenticeship levy? Do you think it's to blame for the drop in apprentice numbers?

About Jamie Lawrence

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