Government agency warns of imminent apprenticeship over-spend

It was reported by FE WEEK today (03/12/18) that the apprenticeships budget for England is set to be overspent by £0.5 billion this year, rising to £1.5 billion during 2021/22, according to the government agency for apprenticeships.

Robert Nitsch, the IfA’s chief operating officer, presented the IfA figures during an event for employers held at Exeter College on Friday, showing that the yearly cost of starts this year will be £500 million higher than the £2.2 billion budget in 2018/19.

By 2020/21 the shortfall is set to rise to £1.5 billion, with costs rising to £4.1 billion against a budget of £2.6 billion.

The problem – which comes despite the volume of starts dipping – is understood to be the result of higher per-start funding than first predicted, largely driven by the sharp rise in management apprenticeships with high prices.

Mark Dawe, the chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, has demanded an “open debate on how the levy operates” following this revelation.

“At last it slips out into the open what we have been anticipating for months and what we predicted from the start: that more higher-level expensive apprenticeships are consuming the bulk of the levy,” he told FE Week.

“We are now heading to a situation where there will be no money left for SME employers when the government is launching a £5 million promotion campaign to the very same group.”

You can read the full article on the FE Week website.