Apprenticeships for northern growth

This report provides an overview of recent trends, key challenges and current reforms to apprenticeships, drawing on the CBI/Pearson’s Education and Skills Survey 2016. Launched in February at the second UK Northern Powerhouse International Conference & Exhibition in Manchester, this report is topical given the longstanding skills and productivity challenges set out in the Northern Powerhouse Strategy.

The report shows that despite evidence indicating that the region faces a shortfall in productivity compared to other areas, with a skills gap emerging before individuals leave school – northern employers nonetheless report similar, if not better, perceptions of the skills of school leavers. It also finds that the North has a disproportionate number of apprenticeships starts, with 36 per cent of all starts in England despite representing 23 per cent of the working age population – and that the region may be especially affected by the Government’s new public sector apprenticeships target. This overview also reports significant uncertainty among Northern employers about the likely effects of the Apprenticeship Levy, as in the rest of the country.

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