June 08, 2023
The Government must widen the apprenticeship levy with a broader skills focus, so more can be spent on modular training and short-term, targeted training courses, according to a leading Midlands businesswoman.
Chair of Pertemps Network Group, Carmen Watson
More than 400 business leaders applauded Carmen Watson, Chair of Pertemps Network Group, yesterday at the Midlands Economic Summit, in Birmingham.
The Midlands Economic Summit discussed the strategic priorities that will shape the region’s economic outlook, from transport to international trade and included guest speakers Sir John Peace, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Saqib Bhatti, Meriden MP.
The warning from Carmen reiterated the outcry from businesses for an urgent reform of the apprenticeship levy, with concerns that the Government are holding back investment in critical training that could increase productivity, fuel economic growth and raise wages.
She said: “When I go out now, I’m stopped by someone who is looking for a CNC operator in a factory but can’t find one for three months. A legal firm who says they are looking for a solicitor and eight months on they haven’t got one and a factory firm that is taking 12 months to fill a role.
“We need a robust skills plan, and we need businesses, Government and educational partners talking in a really meaningful way. We’ve got to sort the Apprenticeship Levy out.
“But we can’t miss out on mentioning all the people out there who are absolutely crucial to the success of our economy. Somewhere in all of these plans, in everything we are talking about, we’ve got to get out there into the community and find out what people really want about their work.
“If you talk to businesses that are struggling, they will tell you that when they bring people in, there communication is different, their requirement of people is different. We can’t build a strategy around last years problem. It needs to be one that looks forward.”
Last year, in partnership with The Purpose Coalition, headed by Former Education Secretary Rt Hon Justine Greening and Lord Walney, Pertemps produced a Levelling Up Impact Report highlighting the work by Pertemps in helping jobseekers who may have experienced barriers to employment, including young people, ex-service personnel, ex-offenders and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
To find out more about the Pertemps Levelling Impact Report, visit https://www.pertemps.co.uk/media/xg3kyclo/pertemps-levelling-up-impact-report-online-final-1.pdf