The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has called for greater control of the apprenticeship levy to help reduce the shortage of skilled technicians.
This follows statistics that have suggested that half of levy-funded apprenticeships are ‘fake’.
The analysis by education think tank EDSK has suggested that the majority of the levy is being put towards existing adult workers, instead of promoting the training of young people in skilled roles.
Frank Harvey, IGA Head of Member Services, stated: “The shortage of skilled technicians is the number one issue facing the automotive sector. The apprentice levy should play a key part in fixing this skills gap, however the system is clearly flawed and open to abuse, as the figures from the EDSK report highlights. It appears that larger employers paying the levy are able to ‘get their money’s worth’, by using the levy to fund what would normally be college or university courses, whilst the grass-root craft skilled posts become virtually devoid of funding due to low entrant numbers. Smaller employers that typically engage craft skills apprentices are finding it more and more difficult to not only recruit apprentices but also to find funded courses.
“The automotive sector is vital to the UK economy and in the mobility of the UK work force and supply chain, and new entrants are critical to ensure there are skilled technicians available for the future.”