Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Skills minister Robert Halfon to unveil apprenticeship levy details this week

The government will unveil crucial details on the structure of its proposed apprenticeship levy this Friday, nearly two months later than planned.

The Department for Education confirmed it would publish details on how different apprenticeships would be capped later this week, despite setting itself an initial deadline of June.

As part of the levy, types of apprenticeships will be banded, with the government setting a maximum limit on what can be spent on each standard of apprenticeship.

Details of these caps were first expected to be published in June, but this was pushed back following the Brexit vote.

The Department for Business of Innovation and Skills then said there would be a “short delay” as it continued to work with employers to design the new levy.

BIS then became the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle, which saw the skills brief handed over to the DfE and Harlow MP Robert Halfon appointed minister for skills and apprenticeships.

The DfE has now confirmed the new skills minister will unveil further details of the levy on Friday.

The levy, which is due to come into force next April, will see companies with annual wage bills over £3m paying 0.5 per cent of their PAYE into a government fund.

The new details are expected to allow firms to properly cost and plan future training schemes.

But there have been calls from groups such as Build UK and the CBI to delay the implementation of the levy to give firms more time to plan for the changes.

Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “It would make sense to delay the apprenticeship levy until we fully understand the funding arrangements, how the levy will work in practice and what employers need to do to ensure that we deliver the desired outcome of more apprenticeships.

“With the lack of information we are not able to do that right now.

“We are currently in the process of confirming with our members that they would support us in calling for a delay.

“This is an issue that concerns not just major contractors but specialist contractors as well.

“Many of these won’t pay the levy but it will have an impact on their business, as funding for apprenticeships will change as a result of the apprenticeship levy.”

There have been concerns that the new apprenticeship standards could hit contractors financially and curb the number the number of apprentices being trained.

The levy is part of the government’s plans to create more than three million new apprentices by 2020.

Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner told Construction News that CECA had “real concerns” that the banding for support would fall short of what its members needed to deliver high-quality apprentices, which would jeopardise the future workforce and the government’s own apprenticeship targets.

He said: “Industry has been calling for clarity on the apprenticeship levy, and in particular we need more information on how contractors will be able to recoup the money that they pay in levy contributions as support for training new apprentices.

“As such, we will be looking closely at the consultation proposals when they are published this week.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.