apprentice compass

Skills for Logistics MD David Coombes questions whether the industry should be concerned by the slow take up of the levy, almost a year after it was launched.  So it’s nearly a year since one of the biggest taxation changes in a generation (levy payroll tax).

The levy is set to raise £2.5bn in England, helping to fund the government’s target of 3 million apprenticeships in this current term of office (2020) which was strongly re-iterated by the skills minster (Anne Milton) at a conference I attended only last month.

Unquestionably it has been a very slow start.

Depending on what you read or hear, the number of apprenticeships in England has more than halved in the 12 months to the end of December 2017.

Should we be worried? Is this just another stealth tax that ultimately fails to deliver what it was designed to do? It certainly is a generational reform that is still to prove that it is up to the job.

From a logistics perspective I am personally feeling upbeat. I have spoken to many employers and training providers over the last 12 months and in almost all the discussions they see the new apprenticeship standards in playing a pivotal role to up-skill their existing colleague workforce, equally as an innovative and inspirational way to introduce new people to their businesses.

Whilst currently there are still only four logistics standards available to choose from I am particularly excited about the imminent approval of degree level supply chain professional level 6 apprenticeship program, this is exactly what our profession needs in order to offer an alternative to university and attract a new generation of future skills.

In my opinion the new apprenticeship standards are of a much higher quality than the old frameworks as they are employer led in design and therefore much closer to the roles and skills that are needed in our industry today and in the.

All apprentices must undertake an independent end-point assessment which is a synoptic assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that have been learnt throughout the apprenticeship.

The purpose of the assessment is to make sure the apprentice meets the standard set by employers and are fully competent in the occupation.

As Anne Milton said last month, “we should give this time, employers have two years to spend their levy funds, this last year has been a period of significant change for most companies and the Government and the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) continue to work directly with us to adjust and respond”.