MPs have urged the government to make ‘radical improvements’ to its apprenticeship programme, after finding that small employers are ‘missing out’ on the benefits associated with apprenticeships.
In a new report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that the number of apprenticeship starts fell by 26% following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. The Committee predicts that the government won’t meet its target of three million starts by 2020.
The PAC also stated that the government’s focus on higher-level apprenticeships and levy-paying employers ‘increases the risk that small employers may miss out’ on the benefits associated with apprenticeships.
‘The number of people starting apprenticeships is falling significantly short of government targets,’ said Meg Hillier, Chair of the PAC.
‘The government will not meet its goal of three million starts by March 2020 and the Department has underspent on the programme’s budget by 20%.
‘The Department for Education must get its reform of apprenticeships back on track, realigning the programme with its initial objectives so that as much of the population as possible can benefit from it.’
The Committee has urged the government to outline how it will ensure that smaller employers can ‘benefit fully’ from the apprenticeship programme.