The Department for Education has released figures showing that the number of apprenticeship starts dropped by 28% to 261,200 compared to last year.
In response to this Seamus Nevin, Head of Policy Research at the Institute of Directors, said: “These new figures from the Department for Education showing that the number of apprenticeship starts have yet again fallen significantly (27.92% from last year’s figures), are proof, if more was needed, that the apprenticeship levy is not working as intended.
“Shockingly, employers have spent just 10% of their levy funds in the first year since the new system was introduced.
“Businesses support the apprenticeships programme but the chorus of employers, and city mayors, calling for the system to be reformed is growing. The drop in the number of starts shows that the Government needs to make the apprenticeship system a lot more flexible and a lot less bureaucratic.
“The new system was supposed to boost the amount of in-work training but the narrow and centrally-controlled structure is not helping firms to invest in the training that is most needed by our economy. If we want employers to invest more in training British workers then we need to ensure that the levy system works better for the skills needs of employers.”