The government is in serious danger of making apprenticeships unaffordable for smaller businesses, with reforms urgently needed to curb the continued decline in apprentice numbers.
Updated to reflect the reduction in the co-investment rate, the increase in the amount of levy credit that employers can transfer and the increase to national minimum wage rates, in effect from 1 April 2019.
The number of organisations being pursued by HMRC for apprenticeship levy underpayment has more than doubled in a year, as a growing number of businesses find it difficult to comply with.
Training providers have called on the government to remove the highest and degree level apprenticeships from the scope of funding in order to relieve growing pressures on the apprenticeship levy.
The government is unlikely to reach its target of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020 and there are "concerns about the programme's long-term sustainability", according to a damning report from the National Audit Office.
Apprenticeship starts in the first quarter of the 2018-19 academic year have risen in relation to figures reported at this time in 2017-18, but lag behind equivalent figures reported in January 2016 and 2015.
Nine out of 10 (92%) employers want more flexibility in how they can spend their apprenticeship levy allowance, with some employers suggesting they would rather use the money for other methods of upskilling.
XpertHR examines trends in spending on learning and development, and the priorities in this area over the coming year.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to learning and development costs and budget.