staff training

Staff will have to be aware of their legal obligations under the new legislation.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has renewed its calls on the government to reform the Apprenticeship Levy system.

Coming during National Apprenticeship Week (7-13 February), the BRC said the current Apprenticeship Levy is “no longer fit for purpose”, claiming it is inflexible and “does not support essential courses that are needed for retail in 2022”.

The BRC said this means funds are being wasted, crucial investment in skills is being held back and opportunities in the industry are being curtailed. It set out three suggestions to improve the system:

  • Make the Levy more flexible to allow the use of Levy funds to support more young people in high quality pre-employment and pre-apprenticeship programmes
  • Allow the Levy to support other training and shorter courses (currently have to be a minimum of one year)
  • Allow Levy funds to be used to cover a portion of apprenticeship costs outside of training e.g., transport costs

Chief executive of the BRC, Helen Dickinson said: “The current Apprenticeship Levy system is broken. It is inflexible, outdated, and it needs reform, otherwise retailers are forced to treat the Levy as little more than a tax. For retailers who put money into this pot but cannot use it, the Levy amounts to little more than a tax and is a detriment to current and potential employees.

“Retailers continue to invest in their workforce, however the government must redouble its efforts to find broader usage opportunities for the Apprenticeship Levy to ensure the industry continues delivering on its mission of a higher skilled, more productive, and better paid workforce. The benefits will be far-reaching and will help to create more jobs and boost local economies of areas which need it the most.”