Analysis by East Kent College shows that the number of apprentice vacancies in the UK is expected to fall by 12%, as employers have opted to "upskill" their present staff, rather than hire young people as apprentices. The Apprenticeship Levy, which was introduced in April 2017, charges 0.5% tax on companies with a payroll bill of more than £3 million. It is possible for companies who pay the Levy to claim money back if they use it for training, but it seems that, presently, businesses are not flocking to create apprenticeships and benefit from the Levy "pot". In turn, there is concern that the government may not hits its target of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.
Interestingly, though, some training courses are being rebranded as apprenticeships, such as in accountancy and the legal professions. The issue here is that these courses were not previously known as apprenticeships, and existing training programmes are simply being renamed to qualify for funding under the Levy scheme. The question, then, is whether this is really what the government intended when it launched the Apprenticeship Levy.
Fewer young people are taking apprenticeships because big employers are opting to train their present staff instead, following the introduction of a government tax, official figures indicate.