Skills minister scraps apprenticeship cap for SMEs

This month, small businesses that don’t pay the apprenticeship levy will no longer be limited to a maximum of 10 apprentices. Skills minister, Robert Halfon, confirmed this in a letter to businesses stressing their need to recruit “as many high-quality apprentices as their business needs”.

The new rules, which came into effect on the 3rd of April, have been welcomed by businesses. The cap had always been a point of contention for businesses, as Jane Hickie, Chief Executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) added:

“Each year this causes big issues for smaller employers who wish to take on more apprentices and there is always a lack of transparency over whether the cap will reset or not.”

AELP had been lobbying for some time to abolish the cap, as there had been several reports of employers turning apprentices away due to over-subscription. Small businesses that don’t pay the levy receive 95% of the costs from the apprenticeship budget. The cap was originally designed to prevent overall apprenticeship overspend.

Apprenticeships have become a growing priority for SMEs. Halfon announced at the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network conference that the registration process will be redesigned, making it easier for SMEs to take on their first apprentices, with more opportunities for training providers to assist employers with account administration.

To find out more, see here.

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