The number of new apprentices has fallen year on year by almost a quarter in the government’s most recent figures – the first since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.
Data from the Department for Education revealed the total number of apprenticeship starters across all industries for the academic year 2017/18 fell by 24% when compared to the year before. The levy, which requires businesses with an annual wage bill of £3m or more to pay 0.5% of payroll costs towards the training, was introduced in April 2017.
The drop is also part of a downward trend – with the most recent rate falling 26.2% lower than the academic year 2015/16. It is unclear how much of this decline has a direct impact on hospitality.
It comes as the government cuts the amount small businesses have to pay towards apprenticeships amid concerns the levy made the training scheme inaccessible.
In the latest budget, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the 10% payment towards apprenticeships for SMEs would be halved to 5%. However, he did not set a date for the policy to be introduced.
A UKHospitality spokesman said: “One of UKHospitality’s aims over the coming years is to boost the number of young people beginning a career in hospitality. Many of these will find a path into the sector and the beginnings of a career through an apprenticeship.
“One of the asks of our Workforce Commission 2030 report is for government to facilitate us in our discussions with schools and colleges to attract youngsters into the sector.
“This significant drop in the number of apprenticeship starts will be concerning for the government, but it also does not help employers, particularly with employment levels high and access to non-UK workers about to be restricted.”
Written by Helen Salter