The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)

Government challenged on Apprentice­ship Levy

Industry: Policy issues could scupper growth of Modern Apprentice­ships

- Andrew Argo

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Scotland has warned that the growth in apprentice­ships in Scotland could be scuppered unless the Scottish Government ring-fences the new Apprentice­ship Levy for training.

It issued the warning after the Scottish Government announced a further rise in the number of Modern Apprentice­ships (MAs) in training north of the border.

This year’s target of 25,000 MAs has been met, and next year’s has been set at 26,000, with the aim of achieving 30,000 MAs in 2020.

Scottish Government figures have praised employers for supporting the scheme which benefits young people, businesses and the economy.

From April 2017, all employers in the UK with an annual pay bill over £3 million will have to pay the Apprentice­ship Levy. They will pay 0.5% of their annual pay bill as a commitment to traineeshi­ps.

The FMB warn that progress in increasing MAs could unravel unless the Scottish Government commits to re-investing Apprentice­ship Levy funds.

Gordon Nelson, director of FMB Scotland, said: “This good work could soon be undone.

“There is a leadership vacuum in terms of demonstrat­ing how the Apprentice­ship Levy will be implemente­d in Scotland.”

He accepted the Apprentice­ship Levy has been foisted on the Scottish Government with no or very little consultati­on.

The Scottish business community had also been frustrated by not being able to engage with policy-makers on such an important matter.

“Now that relevant ministers are in place, we want a clear message from the Scottish Government that they will engage with the constructi­on industry and others to develop a workable policy for investing the Apprentice­ship Levy.”

The sector is facing a skills shortage and needed to develop more “home grown talent,” he added.

Scottish employabil­ity minister Jamie Hepburn said last night: “The FMB is right to say that UK Apprentice­ship Levy was introduced without consultati­on with Scottish ministers and we have been frustrated at the way this levy has been imposed by the UK Government.

“We need to work with the business community to oversee how this policy works in Scotland and ensure we can continue to build on the considerab­le success of our Modern Apprentice­ship programme.

“That process is under way and I would be happy to discuss with the FMB as we move forward.”

 ??  ?? Skilled labour is in high demand on constructi­on sites, says the Federation of Master Builders.
Skilled labour is in high demand on constructi­on sites, says the Federation of Master Builders.

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