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- Extend scope of apprenticeship levy
- Engage with recruitment sector
- Facilitate access to international skills

In response to the Chancellor’s Spending Review today, Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has commented:

“We echo the Chancellor’s concerns on the future of the UK economy with Covid-19 continuing to impact every individual and business and the end of the transition period set to disrupt many. We welcome the announcement from Rishi Sunak that £2.9 billion will be provided to the Work & Pensions Secretary to support a three-year restart programme to help those unemployed for over a year find new jobs. However, while we recognise that every job cannot be saved, we continue to urge the Government to reconsider how retraining support is delivered. We are encouraged by the Chancellor’s announcement that the Government plans to improve the way the apprenticeship system works for businesses, though we do urge that these plans are extended to contingent workers, including contract professionals. We believe that greater structure change is needed, including reducing the length of apprenticeships, allowing the use of the levy for more flexible training, allowing for portable apprenticeships, access for agency workers and a more flexible use of lifelong learning schemes to deliver more immediate positive impacts for both the economy and individuals.”

“We also urge the Government to consider how it engages with recruitment businesses to deliver apprenticeship support. The recruitment sector operates in partnership with STEM sectors where domestic skill shortages are most keenly felt and enabling the contingent workforce to access portable apprenticeships would help those self-employed workers that are struggling in the current economy by giving them the ability to retrain for new opportunities and safe-guard their livelihoods.”

“It is also imperative that support and further actions outlined by the Chancellor are implemented swiftly. There’s evidence of a delay rolling out the Kickstart scheme, for example, which is stalling much needed support for many of the UK’s businesses – with our own application still to be approved one and a half months since it was submitted.”

“The news that further investment will be diverted into the next phase of the Government’s infrastructure revolution is certainly welcome and we anticipate that this will generate permanent and contract growth across the STEM sectors in particular, as well as across the regions. However, it does raise further concerns surrounding access to resources in a post-transition economy. Infrastructure is facing a dearth of talent and is heavily reliant on European resources. The limitations of the post-transition visa options for EU nationals has the potential to impact skills availability, particularly for those roles on the Shortage Occupation List, which will in turn impede the plans outlined by the Chancellor today. If the UK is to Build Back Better, it needs access to an immigration system that recognises that our ability to attract world class brands to set up business here and to negotiate advantageous trade deals after the Brexit transition, pivots on access to international skills and a flexible workforce.”


Press Contact

Vickie Collinge

01582 790705

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