Apprenticeships: people over 16

18 April 2023

A question was raised in parliament to Gillian Keegan, the Secretary of state for education, regarding apprenticeships for people aged over 16. However reform to the apprenticeship levy seems tentative.

The question debated was:

‘‘What steps her Department is taking to encourage people over the age of 16 to take up apprenticeships.’’

Gillian Keegan, Conservative MP for Chichester, answered:

‘‘…we are working with UCAS so that people can search and apply for apprenticeships alongside degrees, creating a one-stop shop for young people.

Priti Patel, Conservative MP for Witham, stated:

‘‘…will she look at how to make the apprenticeship levy much more agile and flexible so that more school leavers participate in the scheme...’’

Gillian Keegan answered:

‘‘More than 99% of the apprenticeships budget was spent last year, which is a fantastic demonstration of the value that apprentices bring to businesses. We will continue to ringfence the levy to support that demand. Essex Chambers of Commerce are working with employers to develop a local skills improvement plan. We look forward to working more with them and local employers on their needs.’’

Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield, questioned:

‘‘Alongside starts having fallen by a third, the Government’s own data shows that 47% of apprentices do not complete their apprenticeships. Will the Secretary of State join me, the Labour party and the right hon. Member for Witham in supporting the wide range of businesses and employers that support Labour’s plans for reform of the apprenticeship levy?’’

Gillian Keegan answered:

‘‘We are already spending 99.6% of the levy, so Labour’s policy would mean that we would have to take some apprentices away from SMEs to be able to create that levy.’’

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