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New apprenticeships plan is unveiled


Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined details of how the Government intends to fulfil its pledge to create three million apprenticeships by 2020.


Calling on businesses to invest in their workforce, the Prime Minister revealed that companies bidding for government contracts worth more than £10m will now be required to ‘demonstrate a clear commitment to apprenticeships’.


Mr Cameron also invited employers to give their views on plans to introduce a new apprenticeship levy, which would see employers invest in a training fund.


The consultation on the new levy will run until 2 October 2015, and the measure is expected to be in place by April 2017.


The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) welcomed the plans. ‘Apprenticeship schemes can play a part in meeting important ambitions to boost skills and drive-up productivity,’ said the BCC’s director general, John Longworth.


‘Government policy is currently too focused on major employers, but equal effort ought to be put on encouraging and supporting smaller businesses to offer apprenticeships,’ he added.


However, manufacturers' organisation the EEF has raised questions over the proposals.


‘With little detail of the level of the levy, who will be required to pay it and how much government will give back in return, manufacturers have a right to remain sceptical that the levy will create the three million additional quality apprenticeships that we all wish to see,’ commented Terry Scuoler, chief executive at EEF.