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Future 50 firms welcome cut to apprenticeship levy

Your Own Place CIC. Photo: Carnegie UK Trust

Your Own Place CIC. Photo: Carnegie UK Trust

Archant

The chancellor’s efforts to boost work-based training has been welcomed by businesses in East Anglia, where some of the fastest-growing companies are reliant on the apprentice workforce.

Alan Pruce, left, operations director, and Graham Newman, managing director, of Pruce Newman at Wymondham, in the workshop with a prefabricated pipe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAlan Pruce, left, operations director, and Graham Newman, managing director, of Pruce Newman at Wymondham, in the workshop with a prefabricated pipe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In last week’s Budget, Philip Hammond cut the apprenticeship levy for SMEs from 10% to 5%, which equates to a “£695m package” to support the apprenticeship scheme.

Future50 business Pruce Newman takes on two to three apprentices a year, who very often stay on with the company throughout their careers.

Gareth Headland, marketing and communications manager for the pipe and steelwork company, said: “The drop in the amount that we have to contribute to an apprentice’s training fees is welcome, and with this contribution being cut from 10% to 5%, we will certainly see a reduction in our training costs.

“The nature of our work means that sometimes it is difficult to find people with an existing skill set at the levels we require, and growing our own is very often the best option.”

Not only is the cut regarded as a win for SMEs, but for Norfolk’s young people.

Rebecca White, director of Future50 social enterprise Your Own Place, said: “Norfolk has done well on apprenticeships. However, more and more are level 2 or level 3 apprenticeships.

“For many young people these are not accessible or in desirable locations and industries. In addition, if young people are fending for themselves - either living independently or in supported accommodation - it becomes very complex with housing benefit and often doesn’t pay to enter an apprenticeship.”

However the cut has received a mixed response in the hair dressing industry.

Although salons do not pay into the apprenticeship levy, they have seen training funds axed by £2,000, said Jo Foster, owner of Future50 company Redz Hair Styles and Redz Hair.

“Apprentices are a huge asset to our ever growing salons, they are the future of our business,” she said. “While the chancellor has cut the apprenticeship levy, the funding for level 2 hair professionals has been axed from £9,000 to £7,000, putting pressure on all academies and training providers.”

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