Small firms should be able to recover Levy costs » SMEInsider

Small firms should be able to recover Levy costs

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The CBI DG has reiterated the need for more clarity for small businesses over the Apprentice Levy. Speaking at the organisation’s Scottish Annual Dinner in Glasgow last night, Carolyn Fairbairn said,

“On qualifications, Scotland has a proud record. When it comes to the percentage of the workforce holding no qualifications at all, Scotland has the lowest regional average in the whole UK, at just 5%.”

She went to say, however, that confusion reigns over the forthcoming implementation of the Apprentice Levy. “The ‘Edinburgh Guarantee’ is a fantastic scheme bridging the worlds of education and work. The Guarantee brings together local government, colleges, the voluntary sector and businesses like Sainsbury’s, Standard Life and BT Scotland. Helping Edinburgh’s school leavers find the right option for them.”

‘Many firms still concerned’

“Whether it’s a job, a work placement, a modern apprenticeship or one of the many other options out there. Indeed, apprenticeships are crucial to skills. Yet many firms are still concerned about the UK Apprenticeship Levy. Those paying the levy should be able to recover the cost and invest in employees throughout their whole working lives.

“The Scottish Government now has an opportunity to treat it as a broader ‘skills levy’, helping both employers and workers get the skills they need. It shows that education has been a major priority for the Scottish government. And now Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, is also Cabinet Secretary for education and skills.

“Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence is leading the way. Combining academic excellence with the attitudes and aptitudes young people need to succeed. Giving young people the chance to pursue vocational qualifications, without being seen as ‘second best’. Careers advice, however, is one area where Scotland needs to step up.

“This advice is so crucial for helping young people learn about the opportunities available to them. So we’re calling for careers advice to be informed by labour market data so that young people are fully aware of what different decisions will mean for their employability in the long-run. And leaving school shouldn’t be a ‘leap into the dark’.