Latest Public Sector News

21.12.17

Firms using apprenticeship levy to fund senior courses hit with new cap

Businesses planning to use the apprenticeship levy to fund executive training courses, such as MBAs and other senior-level training, have been hit by plans for a new cap.

Introduced by the Institute for Apprenticeships, a government agency created by the Department for Education (DfE), the cap means that no more than £18,000 can be spent on master’s-level degree courses.

It’s been around seven months since the levy was introduced. It was aimed at increasing funds available for apprenticeships by having employers with wage bills of over £3m a year contribute to a central pot that is then distributed to fund training schemes as part of the government’s ambitious apprenticeship target.

But this new cap reportedly falls significantly short of the £47,000 average fees charged by the top 14 business schools around the UK, prompting some critics to believe that schools will drop courses that have been developed in compliance with the levy.

Companies that are already signed up to courses of this kind will likely have to find further money to pay for the courses themselves, or remove applicants from them altogether.

This move would be in sharp contrast to the government’s ambition to spur a UK-wide skills boost by supporting businesses to maximise their training opportunities via a fast-tracked apprentice intake. When PSE spoke to DfE skills minister Anne Milton about the levy last month, she described it as a “huge opportunity” for the public and private sectors alike.

“It goes way beyond the opportunity of getting a more skilled workforce,” she told us. “An apprentice of whatever age brings something very different to the workplace, and therefore something very different to an employer and a business. And they have a unique contribution to make in the success of a business.

“They’re often local, they’re often loyal, and they’re often full of innovative ideas which, for an open-minded employer or business, offers a huge opportunity.”

Luke Sibieta, research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Education Policy Institute, also wrote on the subject for the latest issue of PSE. In his article, he explained that despite an increase in the number of apprenticeships that have become available, it is still unclear whether the levy will increase the overall quality of public services.

Other organisations have also been critical of the levy since its introduction, arguing that it is too inflexible as it stands and could push companies to prioritise quantity over quality.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

New rules to change the future of Social Value

05/06/2019New rules to change the future of Social Value

The government has announced the introduction of new rules to change the future of social value and make the way housing developers stump up the money for infrastructure both ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >