Employers will be handed greater control of apprenticeships, says skills minister

Government launches candidate and training matching service, with promise of further details on practicalities and funding caps to come

Up to 10,000 young people every year could be helped to find a job in the automotive sector with the launch of an apprenticeship matching service, as the government plans to hand greater control of the apprenticeship process to employers.

Nine British automotive manufacturers – including Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Toyota – have come together to launch the Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service (AAMS) after research warned that up to 5,000 job vacancies were being left unfilled because of a lack of skills.

The initiative comes as the government prepares to publish more details on the apprenticeship levy and the employer-led body, the Institute for Apprenticeships, which will be tasked with ensuring the quality of apprenticeships in England.

Speaking at the launch event, skills minister Nick Boles said that with the levy and subsequent reforms to the system, “we’re putting employers in control of every aspect of the apprenticeship journey. From setting the standards, to choosing who and what to spend the funding on via the digital account, to policing rogue organisations.

“What makes me qualified as an MP to decide what a good-quality apprenticeship looks like?

“It is up to employers – who will be training and developing these people long into their careers – to collaborate with other employers to develop the standards needed to fund the skills gaps of the future.”

The AAMS, in partnership with GetMyFirstJob, pledges to match young people to the right apprenticeship and the right employer or training provider in the automotive sector, particularly in manufacturing and engineering disciplines where skills shortages are most acute.

The service is expected to be of particular benefit to the automotive supply chain as high-calibre candidates from traditionally oversubscribed automotive apprenticeship programmes will be introduced to other engineering employers.

Boles said the partnership was “a prime example of industry working together to make the most of the opportunities they can offer”.

The apprenticeship levy, which will come into force in 2017, is designed to encourage employers to invest in training and developing apprentices.

Last month, Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, claimed thatworkers over the age of 25 were benefitting most from the current apprenticeship provision, while younger apprentices had been hampered by short-term, low-quality schemes.

Boles suggested that the levy would encourage employers to put more apprentices on higher-quality advanced schemes, to justify the costs.

It is also hoped that the abolition of national insurance contributions for apprentices aged under 25, which came into effect on 6 April, will make hiring a younger apprentice “even better value for employers across the country”.

Employers could save up to £1,000 a year when employing an apprentice earning £16,000, Boles claimed.

The skills minister said further details on the levy, and how it will work in practice, will be published by the end of April. And in June, the government will publish draft guidelines on the funding caps for apprenticeships across all sectors.

Boles added that, by 2020, “employers will look back [on the levy] and say ‘we didn’t want the levy, we didn’t think we needed the levy, but it has created a sea change’”.

Story via – http://www.cipd.co.uk/pm/peoplemanagement/b/weblog/archive/2016/04/15/employers-will-be-handed-greater-control-of-apprenticeships-says-skills-minister.aspx

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