Apprenticeship Levy flexibility could create 8,000 retail places, says BRC

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called on the education secretary to use the upcoming spring statement to introduce more flexibility to the Apprenticeship Levy.

The organisation claims that more flexibility could create 8,000 new retail apprenticeships.

The retail trade association highlighted a number of changes which could boost the functioning of the Levy for businesses.

These include allowing high-quality short courses in function skills. The BRC said while current rules means courses have to be a minimum of one year in duration, short courses are “crucial” to improving productivity in retail.

It added that the Levy should allow funds to cover associated training costs, including transport or backfilling roles to free up staff for off-site training.

The organisation called for a wider range of courses to be supported through funding and for money to be used to support more young people through "vital pre-employment and pre-apprenticeship programmes".

“Bringing about more flexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy would not cost Government or businesses a penny but could help bring about an estimated 8,000 new apprenticeship places across the retail industry,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive, BRC. “To deliver on government commitments to upskilling the UK workforce, we need the Apprenticeship Levy to work for both businesses and apprentices.”

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