School leavers could be missing out on apprenticeships, as employers use a significant proportion of their apprenticeship levy to place existing employees on these schemes, new figures have indicated.
According to the government’s “Experimental statistics Apprenticeship service: registrations and commitments Recorded as at 31 July”, there have been a total of 22,200 commitments entered into the apprenticeship service – a new online service to allow employers to choose and pay for apprenticeship training.
Of these, 11,200 commitments were for apprentices aged 25 and over. Simon Ashworth, chief policy officer at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), said as the organisation has predicted, levy paying employers were “already using half of their levy to place existing adult workers on to apprenticeships when at this time of the year, we would normally expect the recruitment focus to be more on school and sixth form leavers”.
He added it was too soon to draw solid conclusions until official starts data was published next month, but “we are very concerned that the funding reforms for the programme are not providing sufficient incentive for employers, both large and small, to take on 16-to-18-year-olds as apprentices.”
He said he hoped MPs would raise this point in a parliamentary debate on 16 to 19 funding due to take place this afternoon.
The government’s figures also show there have been 11,500 commitments for intermediate apprenticeships. Of the 22,200 commitments in the apprenticeship service as at 31 July 2017, 20,200 were for the 2016-17 academic year.