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Call for Apprenticeships shake up gets louder as MPs’ report chimes with BIFM’s campaign

09-10-18 15:5 BIFM

BIFM welcomes the conclusions of the Education Committee’s latest report, The apprenticeships ladder of opportunity: quality not quantity, which was published on Monday  8th October and whose findings align with BIFM’s own position.

The report was written against a backdrop of widespread criticism of the new apprenticeship levy and the Government’s target (unofficially now abandoned) of creating three million apprenticeship starts by 2020.  In reality, the number of new apprenticeships starts has actually declined since the levy was introduced, with many employers finding the Levy spending rules too restrictive.

BIFM shares the Committee’s enthusiasm for apprenticeships and the opportunities they can offer, and recognises their important role in closing the skills gap and raising productivity in FM and other sectors. We also agree that the apprenticeship system could work better and for more people, particularly in the quality of training and support for the young and the disadvantaged.

The BIFM supports the Committee’s call for improvements which include: stronger, clearer oversight of apprenticeship training and assessment; reforms to apprenticeship standards and funding to ensure the system works with employers; funding and educational reforms to boost social inclusion.  We will push two recommendations in particular, namely those covering, an uplift to the funding band to better match the cost of delivery, doubling the time employers have to spend the levy and allowing more levy transfers; and permitting greater flexibility in the 20% off-the-job training requirement.

BIFM CEO Linda Hausmanis said:
“The apprenticeship levy is under-used while the FM skills gap continues to widen, including at senior levels. Apprenticeships are an essential part of the solution to plug this gap but the real barrier to take up is the way bands are allocated and funded.

“Firms whose levy contributions have resourced the development of FM apprenticeship standards are baffled that they remain beyond reach because funding bands are too low for providers to deliver quality programmes, leading to the pitiful scenario of a degree apprenticeship with no uptake, despite demand. It’s a double whammy because strict levy rules prevent them from funding alternatives.

“So BIFM would like to see two changes: firstly an uplift in the funding bands allocated to the FM apprenticeship to align it with equivalent academic degrees and stimulate uptake; secondly, a relaxation in levy rules so it may be drawn on for training formats additional to apprenticeships, and the sector and UK plc can develop the quality FMs it needs.

The full Education Committee report can be found here

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