GMLPF CEO Ian Lomas was invited to present to the LCR Skills Commission last week with a focus on the reasons for such a dramatic fall in apprenticeship starts in 2017/18 in comparison to previous years. Following the introduction of apprenticeship reforms there has been a 35% drop in apprenticeship starts in the Liverpool City Region. Furthermore, whereas previously, the LCR had a higher proportion of individuals starting an apprenticeship programme than elsewhere in the country this is no longer the case. Therefore we can conclude that Apprenticeship reforms have had a much greater impact here than elsewhere.
Reasons for fall in apprenticeship starts
The presentation outlined to members of the Skills Commission the complex reasons why apprenticeship starts have fallen. It is the members’ task to hold the LCR Combined Authority to account and to monitor their work in implementing the Apprenticeship Growth Plan. The presentation pointed to the introduction of employer co-investment and 20% Off The Job training requirements as two key reasons for the fall in starts. Additional issues include shift in demand from SMEs to Levy Payers, changing employer dynamics, a collapse in Level 2 Starts, difficulty in filling vacancies, Ofsted inspections, delays in moving towards the Digital Account, over-engineered procurement and ESFA non-levy allocations both undermining the ability of providers to respond to significant, new demand and tying up too much resource in some providers who are still not delivering.
More regular engagement
The presentation was well received and members of the Skills Commission agreed it provided a rounded overview of the apprenticeship programme and the challenges facing providers. GMLPF will follow the presentation up and suggest more regular engagement with providers locally to ensure that the Skills Commission get access to regular intelligence.