JTL chief executive Jon Graham welcomed the chancellor's announcement in this week's Budget of a reduction in the level of contribution required from SMEs, towards the cost of apprenticeships, at a time when the numbers of apprenticeships being started in England is well down on the previous year.
The chancellor announced the contribution of employers will be reduced from the current 10% level to half of that, at 5% from April 2019. The chancellor resisted the temptation to remove the 10% contribution altogether that had been called for by some in the training sector.
“We applaud the proactive measure by the Chancellor to support apprentices and particularly the SME organisations who are the life blood of this form of training,” he said.
“There is no doubt that smaller businesses have been reticent about taking on learners given the additional training costs imposed - these are on top of all the employment and supervision costs already incurred. We are currently participating in some serious research with small and medium sized businesses to understand the wider reasons why there are barriers to taking on apprentices at the present time and look forward to sharing our findings shortly.
“We hope guarding other barriers and react appropriately to continue to support the skills agenda in the UK.”