To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy on the (1) provision, and (2) uptake, of lower-level apprenticeship qualifications; and what steps they are taking to address any issues identified with the (a) provision, and (b) uptake, of such qualifications.
The apprenticeship levy is an important part of the changes to raise apprenticeship quality, creating long-term and sustainable investment in training. Our reforms have put employers in the driving seat, giving them the opportunity to develop apprenticeship standards across all levels to give apprentices the skills that businesses really need.
While starts at level 2 have declined, we have seen a significant upward shift toward apprenticeship starts at higher levels. For example, we have seen starts at higher levels (4 and above) increase by 68% compared to the same point last year. In addition, the level 3 share of the apprenticeships programme shifted upwards, which shows a healthier balance across all levels, helping people progress to highly-skilled occupations.
We will continue to work closely with employers to help them take advantage of our apprenticeship reforms and to invest in the long-term skills needs of their business. We meet regularly with business groups and individual employers to understand the impact of our changes and we use this feedback to help improve the system. For example, in April this year we increased the amount that levy-paying employers can transfer to other employers from 10% to 25%.
Our apprenticeships campaign, Fire It Up, is also working to increase the number of high-quality apprenticeships, by changing the way people think about apprenticeships, demonstrating that they are an aspirational choice.