Tax levy to impact teen apprentices at Barking and Dagenham College

Monique Clements, director of employer engagement at Barking and Dagenham College, says they are "re

Monique Clements, director of employer engagement at Barking and Dagenham College, says they are "ready" for the challenge after the government imposed a tax levy on apprentices. Photo: B&D College. - Credit: Archant

The number of teenage apprentices could fall dramatically this year after the government introduced a raft of new funding measures.

An apprenticeship levy coming in April means large businesses are more likely to favour 19 to 23-year-old appprentices over those aged 16 to 18 to avoid being slammed with an additional 0.5 per cent tax penalty.

Monique Clements, director of employer engagement at Barking and Dagenham College, said the measures would “affect how every employer in the UK recruits and trains apprentices”.

“I would definitely say that the shift in funding for apprenticeships will have an impact on 16 to 18-year-olds being employed,” she added. “Employers will be encouraged to develop their own work force through provision.”

Currently the cost of training apprentices is split between the government-funded skills funding agency and employers.

Though only businesses with an annual pay of bill of £3m will be subject to the new tax, from May small businesses will have to pay a 10 per cent contribution towards their apprentices’ training – despite previously only having to pay their salaries.

Meanwhile, the amount of money further education institutes such as Barking and Dagenham College are able to reclaim for the teenagers’ training will reduced by a hefty 48pc.

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On top of this, a transition in how apprenticeships are measured is underway, to be implemented fully by 2018.

Monique hopes the measures will avoid having a negative impact on the job prospects of 16 to 18-year-olds at the Rush Green, Dagenham Road college – about 2,700 of whom study in non-apprenticeship positions.

The employment expert also says that many of the apprentices, who often spend just one day a week at the college, will not lose out as their classes cross over with pre-existing lessons.

“It won’t stop us saying to employers they are the best person for the job,” she said.

“I think there are some challenges as there have been so many reforms in one go,” she admitted. But she added: “The education sector doesn’t stand still, it changes every 12 months. As an organisation we are ready for it.”

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