The government's plan to create three million new apprenticeships in the next five years may have serious financial implications for construction firms, according to payroll business Hudson Contract.
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is currently consulting with interested parties on its proposed Apprenticeship Levy, and one possibility is that large firms will be obliged to make a second payment – over and above the existing Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) training levy.
Ian Anfield, managing director of audit, contract and payroll company Hudson Contract said: "A national apprenticeship scheme across all industries is an excellent idea. But construction is an exception in that firms already pay a mandatory sum that is spent on training purposes. Nevertheless, the BIS consultation document is suggesting employers in the construction industry should pay the new Apprenticeship Levy alongside the CITB training levy.
"The feedback we have received from our clients suggests that while the CITB is very good at collecting the levy, it does not always meet the required training needs. Moreover, it is a fact that the Board's huge administration operation uses up almost 50% of its levy income, taking it away from where it is needed by employers. This is why I think it is so important for construction companies themselves to take an active role in the consultation and make their voices heard.
"It's an important opportunity to say if they would prefer to contribute to the new Apprenticeship Levy in place of the CITB scheme, or whether they can see any merit in having two separate levies. Whatever is decided, the cost of the new apprenticeship scheme will no doubt trickle down the supply chain, so it is vital that the funds raised are spent wisely to help deliver the next generation of skilled builders into the industry."
The consultation closes on 2 October, 2015, and the consultation document can be found by Googling 'BIS apprenticeship levy consultation' or clicking here.