Training boss calls on Government to address long term decline in apprenticeship numbers

One of the West Midlands’ leading training companies is warning that the Government needs to tackle the long term decline in apprenticeship numbers and address the sustained decline if the UK economy is to stand any real chance of returning to growth

That’s the verdict of Chris Luty, managing director of Black Country-based BCTG, speaking after Rishi Sunak delivered his Spending Review 2020.

He said: “While we welcome the fact the Chancellor has extended employer incentives to recruit Apprentices until 31 March 2021, with up to £3000 available, we believe the real challenge is how we invest long term in the skills our economy needs.

“It’s not simply about ‘levelling up’, it’s about making sure we have the skilled labour to rebuild and actually benefit from major infrastructure projects.

He pointed out that apprenticeship numbers had fallen, not just during the Covid crisis, but every year since 2017.

“The answer is more than just short-term incentives. We need to relook at the reasons for this sustained decline. We know that rules around ‘off the job training’ are major factor that puts employers off, especially SMEs.

They need more flexibility, so this is a real opportunity for the Government to act now to address this.”

He said the new £375 million Lifetime Skills Guarantee, previously announced by the Prime Minister, is a step in the right direction but needs to be broader than paying for traditional college-based courses.

“We need to be sure that we have the flexibility regionally to deliver the training companies need to both rebuild the West Midlands economy, and to deal with impact of Brexit.

“Every day, Independent Training Providers like BCTG work hand in glove with employers to create tailored courses. It is this custom approach that brings results, not just opting for a basic off-the-shelf answer.”

The BCTG group offers apprenticeships, training and help into long term employment through PTP (Performance Through People), The Apprenticeship Works, Kickstart Plus, Further Training and The Work Shop.

“We want employers, particularly SMEs, to talk to us about their plans for growth and how we can integrate training into those plans to help them deliver,” he said.

Ends (358 words

For further information, please contact:

Chris Luty, Chief Executive Officer,

BCTG Group, European Business Park, Taylors Lane, Oldbury, B69 2BN. Tel: 0121 544 6455

Prepared and issued by Andy Skinner at ASAP PR – 07990 978257

Note to editors:

BCTG Group is a West Midlands-based training organisation which supports almost 10,000 young people and adults each year.

The group has ten sites in Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme, and also includes The Apprenticeship Works, BCTG Ltd, Eurosource Solutions and Further Training.

Overall, the group offers 166 different types of apprenticeship, 84 different adult upskilling and reskilling courses and 27 pre-apprenticeship programmes for 16 to 18-year-olds. These include everything from healthcare and early years care to construction, engineering, manufacturing and logistics, through to business skills in IT, management and team leading.