Changing course(s)

Think tank: EDSK

Author(s): Tom Richmond; Eleanor Regan

September 22, 2022

This report from UK think tank EDSK looks at a new vision for employer investment in skills and the apprenticeship levy.

The UK’s persistent underinvestment in skills and training cannot be solved quickly, yet there is a risk that the government’s current approach will end up simply repeating past mistakes. This new report from the EDSK think tank proposes a package of reforms that set out how the apprenticeship levy and wider skills funding system should evolve in the coming years to create a new culture around skills and training. The reforms aim to kickstart a revolution in reskilling and retraining once the cost-of-living and inflation crisis has begun to subside: (i) The Government should convert the apprenticeship levy into an ‘Apprenticeships and Skills Levy’ that will support a ‘National Apprenticeship Fund’ and a revamped National Skills Fund. (ii) The National Apprenticeship Fund will support the delivery of high-quality apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship training, with small employers receiving cash grants of up to £5,000 for recruiting apprentices. (iii) The existing National Skills Fund will be converted into a £1.1 billion funding pot that is handed directly to devolved areas and local communities to reskill and upskill adults as well as supporting collaborative training projects between employers. (iv) The Government should introduce a new ‘Right to Paid Training Leave’ that gives employees the legal right to five days of paid leave a year to undertake a skills or training course, with smaller employers and those employing lower-skilled workers receiving grants of up to £800 to cover the cost of any absent employees.