The government is under pressure to change their training scheme, after data showed that the number of training places fell by a third over the past nine months.
In the first three terms in 2017-18 school year, the number of people starting training fell to 290,500, a decrease of 34% 440,300 over the same nine-month period in the previous year. It is also almost 25% down on 384,500 training began in the same period 2015-16.
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The figures are a blow to the Minister of education, Damian hinds, who for a short time in the office emphasized the need for students to acquire professional skills.
Opposition MPs and businesses said that a large part of the blame for the collapse in education can be put on the £3bn apprenticeship levy brought in April of last year, which they said was too bureaucratic and had failed to meet the needs of the business.
Gordon Marsden, shadow Minister of higher and further education, said that the government “ignores the universal concern about discipleship,” which meant the figures for new starts to fall in each month, starting in April 2017.
“Labor, business and service providers called for an urgent reassessment process, but Ministers have buried their heads in the sand. Their refusal to review the levy is now causing major damage to the brand of education,” said Marsden.
Edwin Morgan, policy Director at the Institute of Directors, said that the figures are “not pleasant reading” and that, at the current trajectory, it would not be possible for the government to meet its target of 3M apprenticeship starts by 2020.
Businesses complained that the tax is payable even if staff are in the trip or course providers. Firms pay tax to the front and claim it back when they hire apprentices.
Morgan said: “from the very beginning, enterprises raise important questions on the complexity and rigidity of the system. Professional development is a major problem for our members. It is time for the government to review the approach and work with businesses to enable collection of drag-on training in system that provides the right skills in the right place”.
Apprenticeships and skills Minister, Anne Milton, has admitted, there was a decrease in the total number of people starting training, but said that was 1000% increase in the number of “higher quality” education.
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She said, “there are still tens of thousands of people, starting from a higher level of training that is available in some advanced industries, and more and more people to achieve their apprenticeship”.
Entrepreneurs complained before the tax was introduced that it was cumbersome, particularly for small and medium-sized firms, and is carried out too quickly. Lot was only a few months to put in place a scheme as the Ministers agreed on the finer details.
Karen Jones, group HR Director, a developer, said critics should consider that the results may be skewed a sharp increase begins in April of last year before the levy was introduced.
“However, this does not mean that the barriers are not saved.,” she said. “Absorption of discipleship among the poor and disadvantaged families is still too low, and reducing the financial burden for young people and their families, ensuring that they do not lose the child allowance would be a good way to improve the situation.”