New CIPD report provides a sobering analysis of the state of skills in the UK as the General Election is announced

The report reveals “The nation is lagging well behind its competitors in Europe and most of the OECD on key measures including: literacy and numeracy, learning and development, and digital skills. Key findings show that England and Northern Ireland together rank in the bottom four OECD countries for literacy and numeracy among 16–24-year-olds, and employers train less, and invest less in skills, than most other EU countries”. CIPD Update 19 April 2017.

The government aim to double the investment in apprenticeships between 2017 and 2020 to £2.5bn, committed to 3 million quality apprenticeship starts in England over this parliament. To support this, changes have been made to the apprenticeship funding system to include the introduction of the Apprentice Levy which came into effect on 6 April and requires all employers with a paybill of £3m or more to pay 0.5% of their monthly payroll as a levy via PAYE.

However, on 11th April 2017 People Management reported “Employers are being deterred from apprenticeships by lack of flexibility, urging government to issue new guidance to ensure levy is effective because employers have significant concerns about the structure of apprenticeships delivered under the new apprenticeship levy, including insufficient flexibility in the way learning is structured, according to a new report released less than a week after the legislation came into force”.

Apprenticeships are an effective way for businesses to invest in new skills as well as to upskill existing staff. Improved flexibility without reducing quality of delivery would be welcomed by employers and may increase uptake that will benefit individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Whether or not you are a levy paying organisation, the iSales team recommend a step-by-step, holistic approach to Skills Planning.