In April the Education and Skills Funding Agency announced that it was pausing its £440 million procurement process for the 98 percent of non-levy paying employers. The government announced that it needs to revisit how it will distribute funding and many training providers may not receive funding until 2018.
This will impact new learners and providers alike. Old Mutual Wealth’s Financial Adviser School, a not for profit training provider offers a study programme providing academic support and soft-skills training for those hoping to obtain a Diploma in Financial Planning and pursue a career as a professional financial adviser. It was planning to provide apprenticeships from this year.
Darren Smith, head of the Financial Adviser School, comments:
“In the run up to the general election, political parties have started to outline fresh plans to improve education and employment. They must not fail to address the revised plans to the apprenticeship scheme, which has hit a large stumbling block. Whoever comes to power needs to address the funding issue quickly to ensure the scheme, which is crucial to the economy’s growth, is a success.
“The UK population is being faced with a huge squeeze on incomes. Today research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development revealed that pay growth for most employees will be minimal and expect an average wage growth of just 1.7% in the next year. Government needs to set out its plans for how it is going to address this issue and in particular consider how to improve opportunities for those who are on the lower end of the pay scale. The apprenticeship levy is a key way to combat this problem as it offers the population opportunities to upskill through education.
“The delay in funding has meant all apprenticeship providers, including the Financial Adviser School, now have to either find other sources of funding or tell students they will have to wait for next year.
“With the upcoming snap election, political parties have the opportunity to outline how they plan to address the issue of apprenticeships and to ensure that the merits of this initiative are not destroyed.”
*Background on apprenticeship levy: The new levy requires all employers in the UK with an annual wage bill of over £3 million to pay 0.5% of it towards funding apprenticeships. This money will be invested in quality training for apprentices and double the annual investment in apprenticeships in England to £2.5 billion by 2019 to 2020, compared with 2010 to 2011 levels.