Housebuilder Crest Nicholson has welcomed today’s launch of the Apprenticeship Levy and says it is optimistic that a stronger emphasis on apprenticeships will assist address the construction industry’s skills shortfall and help “safeguard” the future of the sector.
With the Government committed to delivering three million apprenticeships and one million new houses by 2020, the levy is considered as the biggest shake-up of skills for a generation.
Apprenticeships at Crest Nicholson saw an all-time high of about 900,00 in 2016, and this new tax will force all firms to “focus on providing quality structured career development and clear career pathways for young adults seeking an apprenticeship,” according to CEO Stephen Stone.
The levy forces all firms in the UK with an annual wage expenditure of more than £3 million to contribute 0.5 per cent of it towards funding apprenticeships.
As a result of this funding, England will increase its yearly investment in apprenticeships from £2.5 billion in 2010-2011 to £4.5 billion in 2019-2020.
Because of the levy, firms will be more inclined to put money into high-quality apprenticeship programmes, increasing the pool of potential employees.
Smaller firms with an annual pay bill below £3 million will not be not obliged to pay the fee. The government would fund 90 per cent of the costs of teaching and assessing their apprentices.
Workplaces with fewer than 50 employees will be reimbursed 100 percent of the expenditures for training apprentices 16 to 18 years old.
Earlier this year, developer Crest Nicholson announced 35 new apprenticeships for 2017 – including its first-ever degree apprenticeship in quantity surveying – and working with the Homebuilding Skills Partnership, the House Builders Federation and the Construction Industry Training Board is helping more apprentices and graduates into the industry.
Younger adults should be given more exposure to the advantages of working in the new homebuilding industry, as well as how the sector competes with other sectors for the attention of thousands of UK school, college, and university students, according to Stone “House builders are responsible for ensuring the long-term viability of the industry.”
In order to ensure that the United Kingdom has the homegrown workforce it needs after Brexit, skills minister Robert Halfon thinks building an apprenticeship and skills nation is crucial.
“It has never been more critical for the United Kingdom to invest in our people and businesses’ abilities. To make Britain stronger and fairer, we need to make sure that everyone gets the chance to climb the ladder of opportunity to get the education and skills they need to be successful in life.
“As part of this, our apprenticeship levy is a huge factor. On-the-job training will ensure that we have the right people in place to drive our country ahead, as more than 90% of apprentices go on to work or higher education.”