Mixed response to Cameron’s apprenticeship plan

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Prime Minister David Cameron has set out plans to increase the number of apprenticeships across England, as part of the government’s pledge to create three million apprenticeships by 2020.

Employers will be asked for their views on the introduction of an apprenticeship levy – set to be introduced in 2017 and designed to increase investment in training and apprenticeships.

The UK Warehousing Association has welcomed government announcement that 59 new apprenticeship standards have been approved and is encouraging members and non-members alike to contact the organisation with views on the standards for apprentices required in the warehousing & logistics industry.

UKWA is involved in the Trailblazer consultation process for developing these standards for the industry. CEO Peter Ward said: “We have a real opportunity here to shape this programme for our sector and decide what the standards should be; so we want to hear from as many businesses and individuals as possible. UKWA will be acting as a conduit between the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the logistics sector, making sure the views of the industry are heard. Our message is ‘This is real – don’t miss out!’”

However, the Road Haulage Association warned that changes risked being little more than a new tax on payroll in the road haulage sector. It is seeking an urgent meeting with skills minister Nick Boles.

RHA director of policy Jack Semple said: “Mr Boles has rejected the proposal for an HGV driver apprenticeship which his department had invited. We have asked officials how a large road haulage firm, employing primarily lorry drivers, can get its levy back when no apprenticeship is available. We await their response.

“The government has repeatedly refused to support transport firms in meeting the cost of training new drivers. Now they appear to be talking about levy for apprenticeships that they have refused.

“We wait with keen interest to hear from Nick Boles how this is going to work and not simply be a new tax on the UK haulage industry, and to discuss a more productive way forward.”

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