The Apprenticeship Levy – what does it mean for the construction industry?
With the Government’s new apprenticeship levy now in force, Emma Norton, Programme Manager for Shared Apprenticeships South West, looks at how the rules could impact the construction industry.
With a plan to inject the UK economy with three million new apprentices by 2020, the Government has now launched an apprenticeship levy in a bid to fund this wealth of new workers.
The levy will see all employers with an average pay bill of over £3million adding in to a cash pot which is then used to train apprentices.
Within construction, it is believed that an additional 135,000 apprentices will be needed by 2021 as the sector continues to enjoy a business boom.
As a small company with under 50 employees and apprentices aged 16 to 18 year olds, SASW doesn’t have to pay any of the new levy. But organisations linked with the scheme will be effected by the new Government plans with many seeing it as a double tax blow, as they already have to pay into another separate levy scheme.
And this could have a knock on effect for us with some businesses possibly choosing to train apprentices in-house in the future rather than through an external organisation like SASW. But on the flip side, from 2018, businesses paying the levy will be able to defer some of that cash straight to training schemes like ours, hopefully cementing our role as a successful route into a construction apprenticeship.
The new levy is being met with optimism by many who believe that it is a great way of signposting people to a rewarding and long-lasting career without the need to enrol on the more traditional academic routes of college or University.
Everyone is different; we all have our own strengths and weaknesses so why wouldn’t this be the same when it comes to making our way into the world of work? For some, a classroom setting is the ideal place to learn and excel and for others, a more hands-on approach is the answer.
Apprenticeships are the ideal choice for those looking to learn in a practical setting and hopefully by putting the issue of apprenticeships on the national stage like this, the Government scheme is also helping to break down barriers and preconceptions that an apprenticeship is only for people who aren’t academically ‘bright’.
At the moment, it is a case of watching and waiting to see how this new apprenticeship levy impacts on individual businesses and the wider construction industry but hopefully it will help to herald a new and exciting dawn for apprenticeships.