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Government urged to provide clarity on apprenticeship changes

British businesses need clarity from government regarding its impending plans for apprenticeships, says Science, Engineering, Manufacturing and Technologies Alliance (Semta) CEO Ann Watson.

Semta, which represents almost 146,000 companies and is tasked with skilling engineering and advanced manufacturing, has been advising industry to help mould policy to benefit British business.

Commenting on the impending changes, Watson said: “Our research is unequivocal; British business is totally in the dark as to what changes are in the pipeline and when they may be implemented.

“We applaud the Government’s target to produce 3M new apprenticeships during this Parliament, but industry does need to know details of the plan as soon as possible. Everything seems to be hanging on some kind of announcement next week around the much anticipated Comprehensive Spending Review.”

Watson added: “Semta has recently supported employers in the research and publication of detailed plans as to how to create sustainable models for apprenticeships…and acted as a key conduit for business to comment on the proposed apprenticeship levy – now we are keen to know the Government’s conclusions.

“Business needs time to put these plans into action and so clarity cannot come quick enough.”

Last month, skills minister Nick Boles told the All Party Parliamentary Group on apprenticeships – sponsored by Semta’s subsidiary, awarding organisation EAL – that an apprenticeship levy on “larger businesses” would allow them to fund apprenticeships further down the supply chain.

“It all sounds tantalisingly good,” commented Watson, “but it is a major step change and everyone needs enough time to put it into practice.”

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