Last updated: 27.07.13

BIS apprenticeship funding proposals welcomed by former Dragon

Former Dragons' Den investor Doug Richard has praised UK government plans to overhaul the current apprenticeship funding system.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced earlier this week (July 24th) it is looking to offer firms direct funding for apprenticeship training and let them choose the resources that are most relevant to their needs.

It also proposed a provider payment model, which would involve the government continuing to fund training operators and only being able to withdraw it when they have received the employer's own financial contribution.

Mr Richard stated the funding models are precisely what is needed in order to encourage more firms to take on apprentices and view young people as the valuable resource they are.

He was quoted by FE Week as saying: "By giving more power to employers, the new schemes will help businesses big and small have more of a say on the training their employees receive, meaning more efficient businesses and better training for apprentices."

BIS is also consulting on long-term measures to reform apprenticeships and going ahead with short-term actions that would make it easier for organisations to take on young recruits.

For instance companies with 1,000 workers or less can benefit from a share of a £1,500 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers.

Neil Carberry, director of education and skills at the Confederation of British Industry, also embraced the proposals and claimed now could be a watershed moment for apprenticeships, with employers set to take control for the first time.

"A radical overhaul is long overdue and business has been arguing loudly for targeting funding directly through employers," he said.

As the government's funding models require "time-consuming" construction of a new online platform, they are not likely to be in place until 2016 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the National Apprenticeship Service is also ramping up its efforts to increase the number of organisations taking on young people and is set to launch a new film entitled How To Hire An Apprentice, which is designed to guide employers through the recruitment process.