The Welsh government needs to urgently engage with the construction sector regarding how the UK-wide apprenticeship levy will be invested back into training and skills in Wales, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Cymru.
Responding to a statement from the Minister for Skills and Science on apprenticeships, Ifan Glyn, director of FMB Cymru, said: “The Welsh Labour government committed to a 100,000 apprenticeship target over this Assembly term, which is a laudable ambition that recognises the need for more skilled workers in Wales. What’s key about this ambitious figure is that quantity does not come at the cost of quality, which means providing proper funding for apprenticeships.
“Unfortunately, the Welsh construction sector is in limbo over how much financial support there will be for training over the next five years, as the Welsh government is still unclear about how much funding it will receive from Westminster as a result of the UK-wide apprenticeship levy. Though this owes much to the manner in which the UK government has imposed this new levy, there is urgent need for a commitment from Welsh government that funding levels will at the very least be maintained, as the current situation is creating the kind of atmosphere which businesses hate most – one of uncertainty.”
Mr Glyn asked for assurances from the Welsh government that every penny received through the new apprenticeship levy is funnelled back into funding training, so that the industry can secure the high quality apprenticeships that it needs. He reported that SMEs are concerned that if the level of funding on offer from Westminster is less than anticipated, the quality of training will be sacrificed in order to maintain numbers.