As the Apprenticeship Levy comes into force for businesses in the UK today John Williams, head of ACCA UK highlights the importance of skills training in apprenticeships.
John Williams says, ‘Today marks a significant moment for many young people, who will benefit from the extra training and resources that the proposed £3 billion of funding the Levy will provide. It is also an important sign from government and business that they are committed to providing routes into highly skilled professions and alternative career paths for those who have pursued a non-traditional academic route.
‘Yet there is certainly a long way to go to make sure vocational training can meet the aspirations of many talented young people and the needs of the UK economy in the 21st century. ACCA’s own research indicates understanding of apprenticeships amongst school students and businesses remains poor: with many unaware of the diversity and range of training programmes offered.’
He adds, ‘It is vitally important that the UK government’s target of 3 million apprenticeships does not sacrifice quality in order to tick boxes and the Institute of Apprenticeships will need to be given suitable powers to ensure businesses are not taking advantage of Levy funding.
‘ACCA has been working hard to ensure our members have the necessary knowledge to advise businesses appropriately about their responsibilities and the opportunities available under the Levy, as well as act as leaders in their own practices’
Williams argues that the focus of vocational training should be skills acquisition. He says, ‘ACCA also supports re-naming the initiative as the Apprenticeship Skills Levy, to give the appropriate recognition to the vital role it needs to play in providing the next generation with the skills and training necessary for the changing 21st century global economy. This must be about developing the skills of tomorrow, not just today.
‘As an organisation which has always championed accessible routes into accountancy and finance careers, ACCA is strongly committed to providing employers, education providers and young people with the guidance they need to thrive in the profession.’
Further reading on an apprenticeship
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