Congratulations to Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on your resounding victory in the General Election. This marks a significant moment for the country, and we are enthusiastic about the potential for positive change under your leadership.

We look forward to working collaboratively with the new government, particularly with the Secretary of Education, Bridget Phillipson, and Education Minister, Jacqui Smith, in the formation of Skills England and the implementation of the New Skills and Growth Levy.

These initiatives represent a crucial step in addressing some of the fundamental challenges under the current apprenticeship levy and present an opportunity to address the skills gaps in some of our most challenging sectors.

We believe there are several things the new government should prioritise to make the levy fit for purpose:

  • Change the rules to allow previous experience, assessment time, and initial programme set-up for the individual apprentices to count towards the twelve-month minimum stay.
  • Allow apprenticeship training providers to fully administer the Apprenticeship System on behalf of employers (if that’s what the employer wants).
  • Employers know what is best for their apprentices, so let them decide the balance of on and off-the-job training for their staff.
  • Fix the system so that it pays training providers for work done, thus allowing them to work with employers to build front-loaded or irregular study to fit around the workplace.
  • Apprenticeships include all skills, knowledge, and behaviours required in any role. Therefore, modularisation of the programme, so that employers can choose what their staff need, makes sense for those who don’t need the whole programme. Modules can be individually certificated and might lead to a full apprenticeship – but only if that is needed. This is a simple flexibility but one that would make a huge difference.
  • Assess competency as the programme progresses, not all at the end.
  • We need to be able to look at English and maths requirements by apprenticeship and decide what is needed for each. The Trailblazer groups could do this to keep it in line with the needs of employers.

By enabling more people of all ages to access high-quality training through both apprenticeships and shorter accredited programmes, we can build a system that supports the success of businesses and the future of our economy. Investing in our workforce is essential for driving innovation, increasing productivity, and ensuring that businesses have access to the talent they require to thrive.

Once again, congratulations to Keir Starmer and the Labour Party. We are committed to working together to achieve our shared goals.