Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent call for a general election on 8th June has prompted not just plenty of campaigning but also the release of the major parties manifestos. We thought you may be interested in knowing more about the implications for apprenticeships because of this unexpected turn in British politics, especially given the Apprenticeship Levy was only introduced this April.
What do the major parties have planned for apprenticeships?
Given how recently the Apprenticeship Levy has been rolled out, you may not be surprised to learn that apprenticeships were not a great focus for any of the main parties and didn’t feature prominently in their manifestos although some parties did make some mention.
Labour, for example, pledged to maintain the Apprenticeship Levy while giving employers greater flexibility in how the Levy is deployed, including allowing the Levy to be used for pre-apprenticeship programmes. The party also said that it would set targets to increase apprenticeships for people with disabilities, care leavers and veterans.
The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, said that they would aim to double the number of businesses that hired apprentices, including by extending apprenticeships to new sectors of the economy, like the creative and digital industries. The party also pledged to ensure that all receipts from the Apprenticeship Levy in England are spent on training.
A time of evolution in the aftermath of the Levy’s introduction
Clearly, in a time of such recent wholesale change, the main parties have opted not to call for drastic changes to the Apprenticeship Levy or the wider apprenticeship system.
What seems similarly clear is that the Levy will be instrumental in driving an increase in the volumes of apprenticeship programmes, with an emphasis on quality and giving young people a real choice of going straight to university before going into work, or acquiring skills and qualifications while they work.