• Barnett Waddingham
    Barnett Waddingham
  • ‘Confusion, scepticism and unawareness’ surrounding UK apprenticeship levy

    Apprenticeship Levy

    63% of managers still haven’t heard of the apprenticeship levy and 93% aren’t making full use of it, according to new research.

    A large majority of key business figures in the UK are either confused by or sceptical of the levy and its benefits, a study by CIPD course providers DPG has found.

    DPG says the findings highlight a need for the Government to put more effort into promoting and demystifying the levy – particularly if it is to hit its 2020 target of 3 million new apprenticeships. According to the most recent figures, the scheme has actually seen a 59% year-on-year drop.

    DPG’s study, which can be viewed in full here, found that a problem of awareness and perception lay at the heart of the levy’s poor impact.

    27% of UK managers didn’t see the benefit from offering apprenticeships, and a further 17% didn’t see the point of them at all.

    The issues culminate in revealing 93% still at a stage where they won’t be making full use of the levy. This 93% breaks down to 49% saying outright they wouldn’t be using it, and 44% having no idea if they would.

    One main issue that  DPG says needs to be addressed is the 43% which stated that they wouldn’t be using the levy because there were no apprenticeships available for their industry. It argues that there are in fact many business areas that the levy can be spent on, such as HR, IT, finance, management training, marketing, and design.

    Well over half (63%) of respondents stated that they simply hadn’t heard of the levy, indicating that communication is also an issue.

    Paul Drew, Managing Director at DPG, said “These findings certainly highlight the need for a more focused approach to communicating the levy and its benefits. Gone are the days where apprenticeships were largely for school leavers and manual jobs, but sadly it appears that business perceptions haven’t quite caught up.

    “The great range of business skills that can be developed through apprenticeships is a really positive thing and they can bring positive change for all sorts of businesses. The problem is that the government needs to make this more obvious and needs to make it more about the skills and benefits than about the money itself.

    “Making more of a drive towards selling apprenticeships and their benefits is the way to go. They can be incredibly enriching not just when it comes to increasing in-house skills, but also on a personal fulfilment level for employees. Happy workers can be 12% more productive††, so in the end it can pay dividends.”

    Other key findings from DPG’s survey:

    • 93% of UK managers say they won’t or don’t know if they’ll be making use of the levy
      • 49% of respondents said outright they wouldn’t be using the levy
      • 44% had no idea if they will use it
    • 63% hadn’t even heard of the levy
    • 43% said they won’t be using the levy because there are “no apprenticeships available for [their] industry”
    • 27% wouldn’t offer an apprenticeship to their employees because “there’s not enough benefit”
    • 15% thought apprenticeships reduced productivity
    • 17% didn’t see the point in apprenticeships
    • Less than a quarter (24%) would feel very confident taking advantage of the levy


    For more information about the findings, head here.


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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