Apprenticeship numbers will grow next year, CBI survey suggests

Growth in apprenticeship numbers is predicted in a CBI poll, following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and a subsequent drop in starts

Julia Belgutay

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Almost half of businesses expect to recruit more apprentices over the next 12 months, according to a survey by the CBI.

According to the CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey, published today, 63 per cent of businesses plan to reconfigure their existing training into apprenticeships as a response to the newly introduced apprenticeship levy. Only 4 per cent are planning to cut back on the number of apprenticeship roles within their business, while 46 per cent plan to grow that number.

“This gives a positive balance of +42 per cent of firms identifying apprenticeships as a key part of their recruitment and talent development strategies,” says the report. “Comparing this figure with previous years’ results suggests continued growth in apprenticeship recruitment. Although positive, it remains to be seen how much of this growth will be realised, and how much is due to the increased profile of apprenticeships within companies following the introduction of the levy.”

While the introduction of the levy in April 2017 was intended to trigger an increase in apprenticeship openings, Department for Education (DfE) data from the first months following its introduction showed a drop of more than 60 per cent in apprenticeship starts. However, skills minister Anne Milton told Tes in a recent interview she was "not worried" about that drop. 

Skills gap

Neil Carberry, CBI managing director for people policy, said firms were concerned about finding the right staff in the future and this was damaging the outlook for investment in the longer term. “It’s essential that businesses work to address skills gaps with colleges and other providers – but with high employment rates, domestic training alone can’t meet all our needs," he said. "Firms will need to be able to access people from outside the UK to support future growth and deliver the Industrial Strategy."

Tracy Evans, Pertemps Network Group HR and quality director, said: “Although there has been a lot of change in 2017, confidence is high among employers, with most expecting to expand on opportunities in the coming year. One of the big problems we face in recruitment at the moment is the skills gap and how to overcome it. Finding the right staff is obviously key in recruitment and we need to find a solution to this ever-growing problem.” 

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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