As the new Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect, Centre analyst Andy Norman argues that, if armed with the right information, LEPs can ensure apprenticeships drive inclusive growth up and down the country.
Writing for the LEP Network, he contends that a key challenge for apprenticeship policy in filling the country’s technical skills shortages is one of coordination: how can policymakers ensure that the 3 million new apprenticeship starts are actually in areas and occupations where they are needed? Embedded in local economies, LEPs are well placed to lead on this. But to do so requires detailed data on the skills needs of local employers.
If properly coordinated, quality apprenticeships can provide businesses with the skills they desperately need, and young people with the secure, well-paying jobs they deserve. However, if the focus remains solely on quantity, apprenticeship policy risks merely exacerbating existing imbalances, and a key opportunity for inclusive growth will be lost.
The image is ‘PPG Manufacturing’ by Jack Baldwin, published under CC BY 2.0