BRC Calls On Government To Reform Apprenticeship Levy
As National Apprenticeship Week begins, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) renews its calls on the Government to reform the Apprenticeship Levy.
Apprenticeships are vital for both employees and businesses – they provide excellent opportunities for people across the country to get into the workplace and develop crucial skills that will last throughout their working lives. They are also crucial for upskilling and retraining the industry’s workforce to ensure it is equipped to meet the vast technological transformation retail is undergoing.
Unfortunately, the current Apprenticeship Levy is no longer fit for purpose; it is inflexible, and it does not support essential courses that are needed for retail in 2022. As a result, funds are being wasted, crucial investment in skills is being held back and opportunities in the industry are being curtailed.
The BRC calls on the Government to:
1) Make the Levy more flexible to allow the use of Levy funds to support more young people in high quality pre-employment and pre-apprenticeship programmes
2) Allow the Levy to support other training and shorter courses (currently have to be a minimum of one year)
3) Allow Levy funds to be used to cover a portion of apprenticeship costs outside of training e.g., transport costs
As the UK’s largest private sector employer, retail supports communities across the country by contributing to local economies and providing employment opportunities and career progression for people from all walks of life. If Government makes these changes, it will allow retailers to increase the number of apprenticeships they offer, filling skills gaps, and creating new opportunities for retail colleagues up and down the country. This would play an important role in the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The current Apprenticeship Levy system is broken. It is inflexible, outdated, and it needs reform, otherwise retailers are forced to treat the Levy as little more than a tax. For retailers who put money into this pot but cannot use it, the Levy amounts to little more than a tax and is a detriment to current and potential employees.
“Retailers continue to invest in their workforce, however the government must redouble its efforts to find broader usage opportunities for the Apprenticeship Levy to ensure the industry continues delivering on its mission of a higher skilled, more productive, and better paid workforce. The benefits will be far-reaching and will help to create more jobs and boost local economies of areas which need it the most.
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