(asked on 2nd March 2016) - View Source

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what progress his Department has made in encouraging private companies to create or expand their apprenticeships programmes.

Answered by
Nick Boles
This question was answered on 10th March 2016

There have been over 2.4 million apprenticeship starts over the previous parliament, and 153,100 between August and October 2015, demonstrating the continued expansion of the apprenticeships programme.

We are taking action to support and encourage the growth of apprenticeships in all sectors to meet our commitment to reaching 3 million starts by 2020. The UK-wide levy will be introduced in April 2017 for all employers in public and private sector with a pay bill of £3m or more, to help fund the increase in quantity and quality of apprenticeship training in England. All employers that hire apprentices will benefit from the levy.

Our apprenticeship reforms are giving employers the opportunity to create new apprenticeship standards. More than 1300 employers are involved with 204 new standards published (of which over 60 are Higher and Degree Apprenticeships) and more than 150 are in development. So far there have been over 1,000 starts on the new standards.

We are continuing to support small employers to hire apprentices through the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE), which provides eligible employers with a £1,500 grant per apprentice (aged 16 to 24) for up to five new apprentices currently. The AGE will continue to operate until the apprenticeships levy is introduced in April 2017. From April 2016, all employers will not be required to pay employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under age of 25 on earnings up to the upper earnings limit.

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