The Government is to offer a £2,000 levy to businesses that take on teenagers, care leavers and those with special educational needs as apprentices.
Under the plans, small businesses will be subsidised with 90% of the costs of providing apprenticeships, with larger businesses being required to contribute 0.5% of their payroll to their apprenticeship schemes from 2017. Apprenticeship roles will be divided into 15 pay bands, ranging from £1,500 to £27,000.
The Government plans to spend £2.5 billion in creating 3 million apprenticeships, with the intention that every young person, regardless of their background or ability, has the opportunity to make that first step into work. The Government also aims to offer greater flexibility for employers to re-train individuals in new skills, giving them better access to quality training opportunities.
The proposed plans have received mixed responses, with the Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, Robert Halfon, commending the proposals for giving all young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, a "ladder of opportunity". Director General of employment group CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, says that whilst businesses are ready to play their part, the plans in their current form risk regressing on recent progress made through poor design and rushed timescales.
Jonathan Clifton of think tank, the Institute for Public Police Research, said the plans are inadequate, and that the proposed apprenticeship levy will still only cover 2% of employers.
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