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In April 2017 a new apprenticeship levy will be introduced with the purpose to increase the quality and number of apprenticeships across the UK. Employers with a wage-bill of less than £3 million will not pay the levy. Whereas, employers with a wage-bill of £3 million or more will have to contribute at a rate of 0.5% of their pay bill. Nevertheless, the first 3 million of the payroll will be excluded by a discount that will give them some relief, in line with smaller businesses.
Having said that, the additional cost does not seem to be the only concern for businesses, which are also worried about the difficulty in attracting young people.
However it is positive to see that the number of young people expressing their interest in apprenticeships has already increased, but it is important that apprenticeship schemes are properly structured by the Government to encourage employers to offer them.
Apprenticeships mutually benefit employees and employers providing young individuals with specific skills. Young apprentices are then also more likely to remain loyal to the employers. Moreover, according to recent surveys two thirds of manufacturers mentioned a lack of technical skills among applicants and a record number of employers intend to recruit apprentices this year as a result.
Employers, want to see these apprenticeships linked to specific sectors that are experiencing skills shortages. Also, many businesses are new to apprenticeship schemes and therefore have clearly expressed their need for guidance on how to run successful apprenticeship programmes.
Apprenticeships imply investments and employers want to be sure that they will be able to use the funding obtained from the levy properly.