Fulfilling our potential: How skills training unlocks shared prosperity

Media Releases

The Apprenticeship Levy will not deliver the 3 million apprenticeships targeted by the Government without urgent change, according to a report from The 5% Club.

In our latest paper, Fulfilling our potential: Delivering the apprentices the economy needs based on interviews with a cross section of members, The 5% Club sets out employers’ current concerns with the Levy.  More importantly, it also spells out the Levy reforms which our members believe are urgently needed to boost training and deliver the career opportunities and highly skilled workforce required post-Brexit.  According to the report:

  • The Levy will have little impact on the number of apprentices taken on in the short-to-medium term.
  • Apprenticeships are still seen as second best by many schools: the provision of career guidance setting out the full range of education training options is not working.
  • Accessing good quality specialist training locally is one of the key barriers to taking on more apprentices, especially outside London and the southeast.
  • Apprenticeship Levy should be focussed on areas of the economy, and of the country, where skills training is most needed, rather than the current catchall approach.
  • Expenses such as travel to training centres or paying for accommodation can make some apprenticeships untenable – companies should be allowed to use the Levy funds to cover these essential expenses.
  • Failure to approve new apprenticeships in a timely manner is damaging recruitment of new apprentices, since Levy cannot be claimed until an apprenticeship has been approved.
  • Levy should be allowed to be spent on shared apprenticeships – where an apprentice is employed and trains across a number of small businesses, thus allowing companies which are too small to employ a full time apprentice to support training.
  • Other measures should be considered to improve social mobility, for example, those employers offering opportunities for young people with poor school results could be provided with extra funding to support them.


Penny Cobham CBE, Director General of The 5% Club, said: “The Apprenticeship Levy has the potential to be transformational to many people’s career chances – and to our future as a global trading nation.

“But it clearly isn’t working in its current form and we urgently needed to revamp the Levy so that employers can provide the apprenticeships so vital to prosperity across the UK.”

The paper, which has been produced following interviews and consultation with a range of The 5% Club’s members, representing different sectors and business sizes, builds on its previous two papers; Providing the Skilled Workforce for post-Brexit Britain and Bridges and Ladders: social mobility and a skilled workforce.

To read the paper in full, please click here.