Government apprenticeships target to be questioned
  • 23rd Mar 2016
  • Article written by Louise Purcell
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An inquiry has been launched into the “ambitious” target of 3 million apprentices by 2020 following concerns over how the government intends to achieve its aim. The creation of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 was one of the Conservative party’s key pledges during the election campaign last year, however critics have said that the drive to achieve these high numbers could affect standards.

The sub-committee launching the inquiry will also look at how standards in the apprenticeship system can be maintained and enforced.  They will also consider proposals for the new apprenticeships levy first reported in the summer Budget.

The announcement follows new draft legislation published by the Government  on the levy, which will see employers with a wage bill of more than £3 million pay a 0.5% tax to fund apprenticeships. The hope is that the levy will raise around £3 billion annually by 2020 and is set to be introduced in April.

However, many business leaders and education professionals have expressed concern that many of these apprenticeships may not provide an adequate level of training for apprentices.

Chair of the Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee, Ian Wright MP, said "There’s been a lot of uncertainty about how the apprenticeship system is going to work and we will want to press the Government on how they are going to ensure businesses, colleges, and students have confidence in the system in the future".

The committee has called for written evidence with a deadline of 18 March 2016.