Jonathan Owen

‘It’s outrageous they’re abusing this loophole in the levy’

The growth of MBA apprenticeships – with employers effectively using levy funds to pay for executives’ CPD – has sparked a furious fight over the whole purpose of the apprenticeships programme. Critics say the spirit of the scheme is being flouted – but some employers argue that such courses are plugging a vital skills gap. Jonathan Owen investigates

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To many people, the word “apprenticeship” conjures up an image of a young person being given a job with training that will see them become a skilled worker.

However, a growing number of employers appear to view apprenticeships as something quite different – placing people already on the career ladder on to MBA programmes.

While the apprenticeships programme is designed to raise skills at all levels, business managers are absent from the list of shortage occupations identified by the government, including specialised roles in engineering, nuclear technology and digital skills.

The rise in the ...

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