Employers outraged as Institute for Apprenticeships threatens crippling cuts to apprenticeship funding

Within less than a week, more than 152 employers* including leading advocates for apprenticeships, and over 285 management apprentices have signed the Trailblazer Group’s appeal to present to Ministers at the Department for Education to reject the latest proposals by the Institute of Apprenticeships to introduce huge cuts to the funding bands of the most popular management apprenticeships. FE News reports.

With the Government already admitting that it will struggle to meet its target of 3m apprenticeships and its stated commitment to focus on high quality new programmes, supporters believe that these cuts will completely undermine the quality and early employer investment in these successful programmes.

Following a deeply flawed funding review process, the IfA has proposed reducing the funding bands for the most popular management apprenticeships as follows:

Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship – from £27,000 to £22,000

Operations Manager Apprenticeship (Level 5) – from £9,000 to £7,000

Team Leader Apprenticeship (Level 3) – from £5,000 to £4,500

According to the evidence submitted by employers and providers as part of the review process, these cuts would irrevocably damage the quality, reputation and volume of management apprenticeships. Many universities and high-quality providers will exit the market, and the more intensive programmes that support young people and drive social mobility will be hit hardest.

Anne Thomas, education director at Serco, and one of the employer chairs of the management and leadership trailblazer group, says: “At Serco we’ve invested significantly in building our apprenticeship programmes and have been hugely supportive of the Government’s apprenticeship agenda. We’re already seeing the benefits of these new programmes and have been working with new, high quality providers to deliver the management skills our business needs. However, these cuts would clearly undermine our future ability to use our Levy on the management skills we need for our future business growth. It also frustrates the hard work of the employer trailblazer group which has invested significant time and resources into developing high quality apprenticeships which will no longer be funded as promised.”

Reflecting on the comments from employers, Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy, at the CMI said: 

“We simply can’t see why Government is shooting one of its most successful policies in the foot. As the overwhelming outcry from employers demonstrates, it makes so little sense. Especially at a time when so many employers are struggling to recruit the highly skilled managers and leaders needed to drive up business growth and employee engagement amidst the challenges of Brexit. However, we are still confident that Ministers, who have been so keen to showcase the early success of these programmes and the new management 

*Employers include BT, Asda, IBM, Aldi, ODEON, Tesco, Next, Birds Eye.

Read more Employers outraged as Institute for Apprenticeships threatens crippling cuts to apprenticeship funding

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