I also have a fear that the government may have missed the opportunity to align the apprentice reforms with other initiatives in education, and to position apprenticeships as a credible alternative to full time tertiary education, particularly in the minds of students, their parents and career advisers. Some progress is being made but there is still a lot of work to be done to remove the stigma that is still associated with apprenticeships. This is a particular problem that construction has to overcome.
However, despite all the frustrations and concerns there are some positive aspects to emerge from the introduction of the apprentice levy. It has certainly highlighted the need for all employers to take more responsibility for training apprentices and secure the future workforce that the construction industry needs. Within my own company it has ignited an interest in apprenticeships, particularly in the “back-office” functions and Facilities Management – areas that have tended to be neglected in terms of training and development.
My own view is that there could very well be a dip in apprentice numbers within the construction sector - at least initially."