Apprenticeship red tape to be cut

A package of measures designed to make it easier for employers to take on apprentices has been announced.

Under the plans, announced by skills minister John Hayes at a summit hosted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) today, payments will be simplified, contracts streamlined and a number of data returns and audit requirements will be eliminated.

Announcing the measures, Mr Hayes said: “I’m determined that more employers and learners than ever should have the opportunity to benefit from our unprecedented investment in apprenticeships. Where red tape and bureaucracy deters employers from taking on apprentices, we’ll sweep it away.

“That will give more firms access to the skills they need to thrive, creating new jobs and new growth, and it will give many more individuals better prospects and the chance to gain a real stake in society.”

Commenting on the moves, business secretary Vince Cable said: “Apprenticeships are proving an increasingly effective training route for young people and companies. They are a proven way to fill skills gaps in our economy.

“But for far too long too many businesses have been put off by overly complex procedures and unnecessary layers of paperwork. We’ve worked with business to cut bureaucracy and ensure the benefits for employers, learners and the economy are maximised.”

Meanwhile, welcoming the announcement, which will make it easier for retailers to take on apprentices, Stephen Robertson
director general at the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “The current apprenticeship system is too difficult to navigate and a major administrative burden. A requirement to send hard copy documents by post cannot be justified in this internet age, for example. This package of measures is a very welcome effort to put that right.”