Apprenticeships have a crucial role to play in developing the Northern Powerhouse, a new report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) suggests.
The report, Apprenticeships for Northern Growth, finds that despite the North of England representing less than a quarter (23 per cent) of the working-age population in England, employers in the region accounted for 36 per cent of all apprenticeship starts last year.
But despite producing a high proportion of apprenticeships, employers in the North of England were found to be uncertain about the effects of the apprenticeship levy. The report reveals that less than half (47 per cent) of employers in the North expect the levy to create new apprenticeship programmes – while 28 per cent expect a decrease in graduate recruitment, and 39 per cent anticipate a reduction in other forms of training.
'A real opportunity for the North'
Peter Sellen, chief economist at the EPI, said: "Following the government's Northern Powerhouse Strategy, this report provides a timely overview of the key economic trends, skills and challenges facing the region.
"The North already plays an important role in training new apprentices and, given the significant economic returns that apprenticeships can have, there is a real opportunity for the North to galvanise its efforts in this area and generate much needed growth to productivity. But success requires employers to shape the reformed apprenticeship programme, including the new levy, so that it is able to deliver sustainable improvements to the local and national economy."