The UK Government has announced changes to the apprenticeship levy, which is due to come into effect on April 2017.
The new levy on company payrolls will help to double government spending on apprentices, said ministers.
Employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million will be required to spend 0.5 per cent of the total on the levy. Companies that are not eligible to pay the levy will continue to receive government support towards the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment.
The government said the amended proposals would give “everyone a step on the ladder of opportunity, regardless of their background.”
Justine Greening, Education Secretary, said: “Apprenticeships transform lives and are vital in making this a country that works for everyone. As well as giving young people the chance to build a better future by taking their first step on the employment ladder, they give those already in work the opportunity to progress further. And for those just about managing, they can unlock a brighter future. That is why we are committed to 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020, spending £2.5bn to transform this country’s investment in skills, in our people.”
Under the scheme, businesses will be able to use vouchers from the levy to pay for apprenticeships.
The latest changes include:
• an extra 20 per cent of funding to train 16- to 18-year-olds
• more money for employers to train apprentices in the poorest parts of England
• more money for employers who take on apprentices under 24 years old who are in care or who have special educational needs
• 24 months for businesses to spend the vouchers.
Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: “Apprenticeships work. The reforms we are rolling out will guarantee support from employers and government, so that millions of people can get the apprenticeships, skills and jobs for the future.”
“Our apprenticeship levy will boost our economic productivity, increase our skills base and give millions a leg up on the ladder of opportunity, over 90 per cent of apprentices currently go into work or further training. Making Britain a world leader on apprenticeships is essential if we truly want a country that works for everyone.”