Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has joined with national employers’ groups to call on central government to do more to make the National Apprenticeship Levy work.
As official figures show the number of people starting apprenticeships dropping in comparison to previous years, and building on comments from the Institute of Directors and the EEF (formerly the Engineering Employers’ Federation), Steve Rotheram said:
“Ensuring that our residents and young people in particular have the right skills for the modern workplace is vital both for their futures and for the country’s future economic prosperity. High-quality apprenticeships are key to that process.
“I am sympathetic with the aims of apprenticeship reforms such as the levy, but they are clearly not achieving the goal of getting more people into apprenticeships. Locally I am working with the Further Education sector and employers to create the right environment to grow the volume and breadth of apprenticeships available and have commissioned an Apprenticeship plan for this purpose.”
“I have lobbied government on numerous occasions to give us the opportunity to use local apprenticeship levy underspend to increase the number of apprenticeships by providing us with the flexibility to design opportunities to address skill shortage areas and respond to employer demand. Even though these initiatives would not have cost a penny, my appeals to date have been steadfastly refused.
“Given there is now a new secretary of state, I am hopeful that we may be able to persuade government of the need to work with us on this pilot.
“Without that kind of innovative thinking I worry that the levy will never achieve its aim, which will damage the prospects of young people in the Liverpool City Region and across the country.”