'Wholesale review' of apprenticeship reform is needed, says motoring industry body

30th August 2016 at 17:35
The changes are a 'disaster', according to the Institute of the Motor Industry

Thousands of apprentices on motoring courses will be subject to possible reductions in funding of up to 50 per cent when the government’s new apprenticeship reforms are introduced, according to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).

The IMI, the motor industry's professional body, claims up to 13,000 motoring apprenticeship places may be affected by cuts and argues that a "wholesale review" is needed in order to prevent a "drought" of motoring apprenticeships when the reforms are introduced in April 2017.

Last week it was revealed that the Skills Funding Agency's proposed funding rates for 16-18 students amounted to reductions in funding of between 6 per cent and 48 per cent in many frameworks.

'Employers will struggle'

Steve Nash, Chief executive of the IMI, said: "These proposed funding levels will leave some vital apprenticeships with up to 50 per cent less funding. Employers around the country will struggle to get training places for their apprentices under this system. It begs the question: how this can possibly support the government's aim to create more apprenticeships?

"The reform of the apprenticeship system…has been piecemeal, with successive skills ministers adding their own elements and responding to different recommendations from various reviews. Information on key things like the levy has been sporadic and untimely, and huge amounts of responsibility has been delegated to the Institute for Apprenticeships…a body that doesn’t even exist as yet! It is no wonder there are unintended consequences from many of the changes currently being rushed through.

"Newly appointed minister for apprenticeships and skills Robert Halfon has a golden opportunity to undertake an end-to-end review of the whole reform process and ensure that the new system is absolutely fit for purpose before the existing one – which delivered well over 2 million apprentice starts in the last Parliament – is rendered unusable."  

'Opportunities for millions'

Earlier this month, the government’s announcement of details about the apprenticeship levy was met with a mixed response across the FE sector. Gordon Marsden, shadow minister for further education, higher education and skills, said: "I see nothing in this document to calm some of the real concerns that organisations such as the CBI, which has called for the levy to be delayed, have raised."

Apprenticeships and skills minister, Robert Halfon, said: "The apprenticeship levy will create a ladder of opportunities for millions of people and also makes sure businesses have the skills they need to be better, bolder and more productive.

“By allowing employers to develop trailblazer apprenticeships and introducing robust standards we are giving them more control and focusing on the skills they need for growth. There are already a range of apprenticeships in development relating to automotive manufacturing, servicing and repair and customer service. We are also proposing to increase funding in Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects which will help sectors such as the motor industry."

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