Today’s announcement on reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy by the Prime Minister is a positive signal of continued support for a co-delivery education model across universities and businesses. Numbers progressing through the Apprenticeship route, particularly in higher and degree programmes, continue to soar, showing how impactful and valued direct engagement with employers is within learning.

However, the Apprenticeship Levy continues to be too inflexible and this is a huge barrier to further growth. Companies face acute skills gaps, and are unable to use their levy funds to up- and re-skill their workforce.

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), said: “Support for small and medium businesses in accessing apprentices is welcome. These businesses often grapple with smaller training budgets, and their engagement with universities is still recovering post-COVID 19.

“However, our larger businesses and employers face significant skills gaps which they alone are unable to resolve. With four in five businesses facing recruitment issues, the nation needs a comprehensive plan to address the crisis. Reforms to apprenticeships must be at the heart of this, transforming the Levy into a resource to enable comprehensive workforce skilling.”