Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Government announces ‘very positive’ apprenticeship changes

Published:  18 March, 2024

The government has today (18 March) announced a series of apprenticeship reforms which will benefit SMEs and the workers they employ within the hospitality sector.

In a speech to a conference for small businesses in Warwickshire, the Prime Minister said the reforms will, “unlock a tidal wave of opportunity”.

As part of the changes, the government has pledged new investment for 2024, covering the full cost of apprenticeships for people aged 21 or under at small firms from 1 April.

Ministers will also increase the levy transfer amount to 50% and expand the definition of SMEs, allowing more businesses to commit funds to training.

The levy was introduced in 2017 and is currently paid by large firms to create more apprenticeship places. However, from 6 April businesses can share up to 50% of unspent funds (up from 25%) to transfer to another employer.

The government hopes the above changes will create 20,000 more apprenticeships. 

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, described the changes as “very positive”.

Nicholls said: “The people who work in hospitality are the beating heart of our sector and are the reason we can provide quality food, drink, experiences and service.

“Investing in people is so important and it’s one of the reasons we see so many people progress through the sector, going from bar to board in a matter of years.

“The changes to apprenticeships announced by the Prime Minister today are very positive. Removing the fee for non-levy payers and expanding the definition of SMEs will all benefit smaller businesses. Increasing the levy transfer amount to 50% will free up more funds to be used for training, rather than being left unused.

“Overall, there is much to be pleased about, and these changes will benefit both businesses and employees.”

Nicholls added: “However, the reality is that the entire apprenticeship system is structurally broken. The levy itself needs reform to allow businesses more flexibility with funding and I would urge the government to make that a central pillar of its skills agenda.”