CBI president Paul Drechsler has said that leaving the European Union represents a “very significant downside” and that analysis suggests there would be "fewer opportunities and less money" in further education.
Mr Drechsler said that by 2020 there might be close to 1 million fewer jobs in the economy if the UK votes to leave the EU in tomorrow's referendum, along with funding cuts "right through the education system".
“All the analysis...suggests things will not be the same, and all the analysis suggests they will not be as good... My own view is there is a very significant downside in the short to medium term for coming out,” he said.
“Number one, there will be fewer jobs. In fact by 2020…there might be nearly 950,000 fewer jobs in the economy. So what that means for all these young people [is] they’re going to be coming into a market which will have fewer opportunities. That does not feel good. [And] downside number two [is] if there’s less economic growth, and therefore less money in the economy, the government has less money to spend right through the education system."
‘This is greater than the apprenticeship levy’
Mr Drechsler also said that the EU referendum debate was a “far bigger issue” than just the consequences for the apprenticeship levy, and that if the UK were to vote to leave the results for education would be as unpredictable as “knocking over a domino”.
“I’ve said before to people, the thing that worries me about this is it’s like if you knock a domino over. You don’t always know how many other dominoes are going to be knocked over. And on Brexit what concerns me more than anything is I don’t think anyone knows what the consequences are. All that we know is that they’re not good," he said.
"I think [the EU referendum] is a far bigger issue. I don’t think it is about the apprenticeship levy. I think it’s about opportunities for young people. There will be fewer opportunities and there will be less money. I can’t see any one area being special of protected. And, for sure, if there are less opportunities, it’s difficult to see why we bully people out there with skills there’s no demand for. It’s not about the levy, it’s about the number of apprenticeships, it’s about the number of university places, it’s about the number of jobs. Our challenge is far greater than the apprenticeship levy."
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