New changes to the upcoming apprenticeships levy include an extra 20 per cent of funding offered to businesses who train 16- to 18-year-olds. Yet a report from PwC today reveals that the country ranks 21st out of 35 OECD members for its record on employment, education or training for 15 to 24-year-olds.
If Britain is able to match Germany’s record on youth employment, the country could see a £45 billion increase in GDP.
Steve Hill, external engagement director at The Open University, says that the UK’s high-level skills crisis continues to pose a threat to the UK economy because of the amount of young people not working or further education.
He says, ‘We have nearly 17 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds not in employment, education or training.
‘One of the major problems is that there is not enough effort made to ensure that the training young people receive is actually useful in the workplace. Young people and employers alike need to be confident that any education or training in which they invest time and money will deliver work-ready skills.’
The move towards higher and degree apprenticeships is a positive step in developing skills for staff of all ages, but it is particularly encouraging to see that the Government recognises the power of apprenticeships to improve social mobility for young people, according to Hill.
There is anadvantage to doing an apprenticeship after the new government levy.
Hill says, ‘The real advantage of an apprenticeship is that skills are delivered in the workplace, ensuring that they are directly relevant to employment.
‘The employer can help shape the course to reflect the skills needs of their business. The more employers are engaged to shape education and training, the more value it will add to young people.’