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Apprentices: Construction

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL9448, tabled on 21 October 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Construction Industry Council Build back better: Improving the apprenticeship system to better support infrastructure, published in September; and what plans they have to review the flexibility of the apprenticeship levy.

Answered on

3 November 2020

We welcome the Construction Industry Council highlighting the value apprenticeships bring to employers and individuals and it is encouraging to see that the report shows the positive impact the levy has had on apprenticeship recruitment among both levy and non-levy paying employers.

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our apprenticeship reforms, supporting employers of all sizes to invest in high-quality training. As well as funding new apprenticeships in levy-paying employers, income from the levy is used to fund new apprenticeships in employers that do not pay the levy, as well as existing apprentices that started in previous years.

We have already committed to improve the working of the apprenticeship levy and as part of this we will work with employers to improve the transfer process, making it easier for them to find smaller employers to transfer levy funds to. In doing so we will build on successful regional pilot schemes, such as that in West Midlands Combined Authority. We are also working with employers to make apprenticeships work better for different sectors, including those with more flexible and short-term models of employment.

We also recognise that employers of all sizes currently face significant challenges. To help support employers to offer new apprenticeships, employers are now able to claim £2,000 for every new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, and £1,500 for those 25 and over until 31 January 2021. Employers can use this funding to help meet any of the costs associated with supporting a new apprentice in the workplace, including: uniforms, apprentice travel and towards meeting the cost of an apprentice’s wages.

We continue to work closely with the construction sector and are committed to making sure the apprenticeship programme continues to provide opportunities for people of all backgrounds, while meeting the needs of employers of all sizes and delivering for the economy.