Now is the time for those working in the plumbing, heating and ventilating industries to speak up in defence of an apprenticeship funding system that works for micro-businesses as well as SMEs and large employers, according to SummitSkills.

The organisation is urging those working in the sector to make their voices heard in the government’s consultation on funding reforms to the apprenticeship system, which runs until early October. The government is seeking views on proposed options, which it says will give employers more direct financial control over training for their businesses and apprentices.

SummitSkills chief executive Keith Marshall OBE said: “The government’s proposals recognise the importance of putting employers at the heart of training and apprenticeships, which we applaud.

However, a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not likely to reflect the views of the smallest businesses, which make up such a large part of the building services sector. The current proposals risk overlooking their needs in favour of those smaller numbers of larger employers, with whom the government will find it easier to engage.

“If the training and apprenticeship funding needs of our sector are to be adequately addressed in future, the government will need to address this. If this concerns you, too, now is the time to speak out and let the government know your views on how this could best be achieved.”

The government’s Consultation on Funding Reform for Apprenticeships in England is running for 10 weeks, from 24 June, and is seeking views from employers, learners, training providers and further education colleges.

At the same time as it announced the consultation on apprenticeship funding, the government announced that it is extending its Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme for another year, to help companies with 1,000 employees or fewer take on apprentices through a £1,500 payment. It anticipates this will create 35,000 extra apprenticeships.