The Government outlined proposals today to support 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.
Central to that is a new levy on large employers to fund the plans.
Consultation on the plans states: “The apprenticeship levy will be economy wide and larger employers in the construction and engineering construction industries will be in scope of the levy alongside all other larger employers in the UK economy.
“On that basis government and the industries need to decide how best the existing levy arrangements respond to the apprenticeship levy.
“One option is for employers in the construction and engineering construction industries to pay the apprenticeship levy whilst continuing to pay the existing industry levy.
“If this were to happen we would expect companies in the industries to fund their apprenticeships using the apprenticeship levy.
“Another option is to potentially remove the statutory industry levy arrangements completely, so that employers only pay the apprenticeship levy.
“This would represent a significant change to training arrangements in the construction and engineering construction industries and we would need to understand what effects this would have on the skills and capabilities of the UK construction industry.
“The Construction Industry Training Board and Engineering Construction Industry Training Board will consult with employers before the introduction of the apprenticeship levy on whether they should continue to pay the industry levy.”
The all-industry level is due to start in April 2017.
The CITB currently has an agreement with Parliament to raise the levy until March 2018 when it will come up for renewal again.
Steve Radley, CITB Director of Policy said: “Today BIS has launched its consultation on the proposed new Apprenticeships Levy, which will apply to large firms across all sectors in the economy.
“We encourage construction employers to respond to the consultation and play their part in shaping the future of funding for apprenticeships, which are so critical for our industry.
“These proposals will undoubtedly have implications for the existing construction industry levy, run by CITB on behalf of industry.
“Ultimately, it will be for construction employers and federations to decide what type of funding and support system is needed to achieve the sector’s full potential on skills, growth and productivity.”
The Government said it will also take a company’s apprenticeship record into account when awarding large government contracts over £10m
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has also announced an ambition to boost apprenticeships across the road and rail industry – pledging 30,000 apprenticeship places in the sector during the lifetime of this Parliament.
Alex Meikle, Director Employment and Skills, Electrical Contractors Association said: “We recognise the pressing need for the whole of industry to get behind the drive to increase apprenticeships.
“Much detail remains to be worked up but we are supportive of a levy on employers and hope this will support those who currently invest to continue and incentivise those who do not engage with apprenticeships to begin to do so.”
For full details on the consultation and to have your say click here