Whilst the wheels of Government are slow to turn, the past three months has shown that where there is a will – there is a way – evidenced by the speed in which Furlough was introduced by the Treasury and HMRC.
But it is nearly three weeks since Boris announced his Guarantee for Young People in the form of an Apprenticeship.
The sector has responded by providing overwhelming evidence (and Promote-ed lead that charge) calling for Wage subsidy and a package of measures including stimulating Traineeships, relaxation of the arbitrary 3 learner rule for non-levy employers as well as other ‘tweaks’ to the funding methodology.
I listened with interest to the evidence at the Education Committee on Wednesday – Robert Halfon chaired the evidence gathering superbly and whilst there was disappointingly not a commonality of view between the AELP and AOC in particular, the universal view of both employers and providers was that a ‘wage subsidy’ would indeed stimulate demand for Apprenticeships and help drive the economy in the latter part of 2020 and into 2021 and beyond. There can be no pressure on existing budgets with a collapse in enrolments from all sectors and massive underspends on the levy which will never be caught up.
Whilst I acknowledge there is devil in the detail – providers and employers need to know something is coming or indeed it isn’t!
I know of a number of employers wanting to employ Apprentices but won’t until they know the outcome of the deliberations about what a ‘Guarantee’ really means.
The DFE and ESFA need to lead – there has been a total absence of this in the past three months and whilst I am sure they have all been working very hard, clarity is required NOW, not just for providers but more importantly for employers and most importantly for those 16 – 19 year olds in particular that are seeking Apprenticeship, Traineeship and other opportunities.
All the sector needs is a ‘it’s coming’ and they can start to plan and fulfil the hopes and dreams of the many young people who are presently sat at home catching the sun but in need of an opportunity.
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