London,
06
April
2017

Apprenticeship Levy: Long-term commitment to apprenticeships welcome but "risks still loom"

Responding to the start of the Apprenticeship Levy, Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said:

"Today marks the starts of one of the biggest reforms to apprenticeship funding: the Levy, first announced in 2015, comes into force and we welcome the Government’s long-term commitment to apprenticeships and young people.

“With the levy paid through PAYE, the initial funds will be accessible in May, and an organisation has only 24 months to use them. The UK's productivity problem underpins the Levy and yet a number of initial concerns still exist. The Levy is certainly well-intended but we have to judge it by its outcomes: the risk that it will lower the quality of apprenticeships, lead to the scaling back of graduate schemes and internships programmes, and stunt professional development practices still loom and remains unaddressed. For a higher, technical apprenticeship like our Level 4 offering in PR and communications, the system functioned well before.

"As we said at the time, there is no guarantee the Levy meets the Government’s targets on apprenticeship numbers and we are concerned that it is tinkering and altering a system which already consistently delivers high-quality apprenticeships.

“Fortunately, very few PR and communications consultancies will be hit by the Levy itself though a good number of our in-house communications – representing everyone from banks to technology companies – will pay into the scheme.

“Having made these latest significant changes we would ask the Government to rule out any future changes to the Levy thresholds: instability and uncertainty will do nothing to help organisations offering apprenticeships or, indeed, young people looking to get on in life.”

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Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 49 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 20,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.

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Matt Cartmell
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