The Government could give funding directly to employers for apprenticeship training

Business Secretary Vince Cable has revealed employers could receive direct financial support so they can pay for the apprenticeship training that suits all parties.

Entrepreneur Doug Richard put forward the funding reforms, which are being considered by the Government. They are designed to allow employers to decide on value-for-money training that matches the needs of the apprentices and their organisations.

The Richard Review of Apprenticeships, which was published last November, explored how apprenticeships in England can keep up with the evolving economy.

The report came up with three proposals, although other options will not be ruled out.

The direct payment model would see employers sign up apprentices and claim for government funding through a new online system. The money would be sent straight to their bank account.

The PAYE payment model is similar to the first proposal in that companies would register apprentices through the online system. However, they would receive funding through their PAYE return.

Funding would continue to be paid to training providers under the provider payment model. The money would only be distributed once the company had delivered their financial contribution to training.

Mr Cable said companies know what type of training is worth investing in, which is why the reforms are on the table.

"It gives them the power to train their staff to make sure their skills are relevant to the company, while choosing from the wide range of courses available," he said.

"These measures are all part of the wider reforms the Government is making to the apprenticeship system. By putting quality ahead of quantity and giving the training that companies actually want, we are helping to create jobs and support business."

In addition to consulting on long-term measures to improve apprenticeships, the Government is also taking steps in the shorter term to facilitate taking on apprentices.

Employers with a workforce of 1,000 or less can profit from a 1,500 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers for a further 12 months, allowing small and medium-sized businesses to recruit an extra 35,000 young apprentices.

The most recent figures indicate the grant has created opportunities for nearly 30,000 young people.

Copyright Press Association 2013