Apprenticeships are a vital tool in our skills system. They offer learners the opportunity to take on new qualifications while earning a wage and employers a means of bringing staff through the pipeline with taxpayer support, whilst also building up the technical skills the UK economy needs.
But these benefits are not always properly communicated and, partly as a result, apprenticeship starts have fallen by 200,000 since 2011. This poses real challenges for the future of the workforce, as a natural route to technical and digital skills is not being taken up. Moreover, the fall in uptake has been most acute across the North and the Midlands. In order for the Government to achieve its levelling up goals, it will have to address this shortfall.
Often this is a result of a lack of awareness. Learners and employers are unfamiliar with how apprenticeships work and the benefits they offer. On other occasions employers are aware of apprenticeships but do not feel it is worth the time or resources that it takes to hire an apprentice. Many Levy-payers treat it as a tax.
This panel event will discuss how best to ensure that apprenticeships are available in the areas that need them most. It will explore new technologies and the role that digital apprentices can play in the Government’s Levelling Up agenda. It will consider how policymakers can encourage uptake and ask whether it is simply a matter of better information or if more substantial reform and incentive is needed.
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