Survey finds most employers want apprenticeship levy scrapped

More than a half (53%) of employers who pay the apprenticeship levy want to see it replaced with a training levy, according to new research by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. Among those already paying the levy, just one in five (17%) support the existing system.

The survey of more than 1,000 employers also shows that nearly half (46%) of levy-payers will be encouraged to simply re-badge current training activity in order to comply with the new regulations. Among that group, more than half (52%) will re-badge existing training activity into level 2 apprenticeships, equivalent to five GCSEs.

In addition, a fifth (19%) of levy paying firms, including 35% of SMEs, don’t plan to use the levy at all to develop apprenticeships, but will simply write it off as a tax. 

  • Among employers who currently pay the apprenticeship levy, 53% would prefer a training levy, compared with just 17% supporting the apprenticeship levy in its current form.
  • Four in ten (40%) levy-paying employers say it will make little or no difference to the amount of training they offer.
  • Nearly half (46%) of levy-paying employers think that the levy will encourage their organisation to rebadge current training activity in order to claim back their allowance.
  • More than a fifth (22%) of all employers still don’t know whether they are liable to pay the levy.

The research also found that more than a fifth (22%) of employers still don’t know whether they are paying the apprenticeship levy, and one in eight (13%) who know they will have to pay have still not calculated what the levy will cost them.

The findings, from the report ‘Assessing the early impact of the apprenticeship levy’, come after a sharp decline in the number of apprenticeship starts, with just 48,000 new apprenticeship starts between May 2017 and July 2017, a 59% drop on the same period in 2016.

CIPD has also published some apprenticeship case studies with top tips for employers.

The apprenticeship standards were recently amended to include exceptions in the maths and English requirements for people with Education, Health and Care Plans to participate.