6 April 2017

  |  CBI Scotland

Update

Clarity needed on Workforce Development Fund as Apprenticeship Levy introduced in Scotland

Scottish companies remain concerned that the introduction of the apprenticeship levy will not result in a skills system in Scotland more responsive to business needs.

Clarity needed on Workforce Development Fund as Apprenticeship Levy introduced in Scotland

The levy applies to all employers in the United Kingdom, though will only be triggered for those with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million. How the levy money is spent in Scotland is the responsibility of the Scottish Government.

A small proportion of the levy has been allocated to a Workforce Development Fund, due to be introduced in the Autumn, and firms are looking for clarity on how it can be accessed.

Hugh Aitken, CBI Scotland Director, said:

“Businesses in Scotland are committed to investing in skills, but don’t feel that the Scottish Government’s implementation of the levy is yet meeting their expectation that the system should be more responsive to business needs.

“Against the backdrop of a slowing Scottish economy, businesses are facing rising costs this morning. That’s why we’re clear it should be matched with a genuinely employer-responsive skills system. As a priority, businesses want to know more about how the Workforce Development Fund will operate when introduced and who will be able to access it. If the Fund is successful, companies would like to see a greater share of levy money heading to it in future years.

“There remain significant outstanding issues with how the four UK skills systems interact on apprenticeships where companies employ people in more than one nation and pay the levy for all their staff.

“We urge the Scottish Government to work with the Department of Education in London and the other devolved authorities to address these issues and deliver a solution that focuses on raising skills levels, wherever the apprentice is from.”