There have been mixed opinions in regards to the governments announcement on apprenticeship reforms. Below are the comments from CITB and the Federation of Master Builders.
Steve Radley, Director of Policy and Strategy at CITB, welcomed the Government’s announcement that further design work will be done to ensure that new funding arrangements for apprenticeships work effectively for employers.
Mr Radley said: “We are right behind the Government’s ambition to put employers in control of apprenticeship funding. However, our research with construction employers showed that the Government’s initial proposal was perceived as unattractive and difficult to work with for much of the industry.
‘We welcome the Government’s positive response to feedback and look forward to working with it to develop a system that achieves the ambition and minimises: disruption to the training environment and; the administrative burden. The best way ahead is to give employers the option to self-manage or opt for a managed service facilitated by a third party. This would provide true employer choice and empowerment and put them in control.”
According to the FMB, the future of the construction industry hangs in the balance following the government announcement on apprenticeship funding reforms.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Today’s announcement by the Skills Minister offers no clarity or reassurance regarding the future of apprenticeship funding. Despite the business community – across many sectors – repeatedly warning government of the potential impact of their proposed reforms on the desire and ability of SMEs to train apprentices, we have been told that giving employers direct control of apprenticeship funding remains a non-negotiable part of the reforms.”
Berry continued: “We have waited eight months for the government response to their Spring 2014 consultation and have today been presented with two sides of A4 which only serve to fuel our fears about the ability of SME construction firms to train apprentices. If SME firms – particularly micro-firms – are asked to pay for apprenticeship training up front it will have a negative impact on cash flow and increase levels of bureaucracy no matter how simple the system is.”
Berry concluded: “I urge government to think again and not to undermine the construction recovery which is tentatively moving in the right direction but could easily be set off course if we don’t have enough new skilled workers entering the industry. Indeed the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) predicts that 200,000 new roles will be created in our sector over the next five years and a key way to fill these roles will be via apprenticeships. To experiment with apprenticeship training at such a time and against the advice of large swathes of the business community is irresponsible and foolish.”