News story

Boost for employers as apprenticeships red tape is slashed

Responding to the recommendations of a review led by the Employer Reference Group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and large companies…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Responding to the recommendations of a review led by the Employer Reference Group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and large companies, including BT and TUI Travel, Mr Hayes said that firms that contract directly with the Government to train apprentices will now benefit from simplified payment, reporting and assessment requirements.

They will also receive better guidance to help them manage the recruitment, training and assessment of apprentices more efficiently and cost effectively.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Apprenticeships are proving an increasingly effective training route for young people and companies. They are a proven way to fill skills gaps in our economy. That’s why we are boosting the number of apprenticeships and putting them at the heart of our Skills for Growth strategy.

“But for far too long too many businesses have been put off by overly complex procedures and unnecessary layers of paperwork. We’ve worked with business to cut bureaucracy and ensure the benefits for employers, learners and the economy are maximised”.

Announcing the measures at a summit hosted by the CBI today, Mr Hayes said:

“I’m determined that more employers and learners than ever should have the opportunity to benefit from our unprecedented investment in apprenticeships. Where red tape and bureaucracy deters employers from taking on apprentices, we’ll sweep it away.

“That will give more firms access to the skills they need to thrive, creating new jobs and new growth, and it will give many more individuals better prospects and the chance to gain a real stake in society.”

Key aspects of the action plan for cutting red tape for employers include:

  • A pilot for over 20 large employers who have volunteered to trial “payment by outcomes” which will eliminate a number of data returns and audit requirements.
  • Providing an online plain-English toolkit for employers that clearly explains the end-to-end processes employers need to undertake for apprenticeships.
  • Streamlining contracting arrangements.
  • A commitment to no “in year” changes to contracting arrangements.
  • A more proportionate approach to audit and inspection - reducing preparation time for employers.
  • Greater use of electronic information, thus reducing paperwork.
  • A more streamlined certification process.

Susan Anderson, CBI Director for Education & Skills policy, said:

“We welcome today’s report and the Government’s commitment to expanding apprenticeship schemes. Apprenticeships are vital to developing the skills that support economic growth and many employers already deliver excellent programmes.

“Cutting bureaucracy will support even more businesses to become involved and these recommendations set out the right path for reform. They recognise that employers are primarily concerned with the day-to-day running of their businesses, and that they are committed to offering high quality training as their reputation and business success depends on this. We will work with government to take these plans forward”.

BT Director of Education and Skills Andy Palmer said:

“For the last year BT has worked as part of BIS’s Employer Reference Group to improve the system and reduce the burdens on employers. The changes we are proposing will have a significant impact on bureaucracy rather than merely tinkering at the edges.”

The Government has put the expansion of a high-quality, employer-led apprenticeships programme at the heart of a reformed skills system. This year’s budget included an additional £150m to deliver 50,000 additional apprenticeships, and in July the Prime Minister announced details of a new Higher Apprenticeships Fund to help key industries including advanced manufacturing and engineering develop the advanced skills needed to drive growth and create an ownership society.

Further measures to cut red tape for small and medium sized employers taking on apprentices will be unveiled this autumn as part of the Government’s plan for growth.

Notes to editors:


  1. The Government is creating the biggest and best apprenticeship programme in the country’s history, with funding in place for some 360,000 apprenticeships this year alone, and an increased emphasis on progression to advanced and higher level vocational qualifications as well as basic skills for employment. Apprenticeships are available for more than 200 job roles.
  2. The reforms announced today are in response to a report from the Employer Reference Group (produced by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service), also published today, which sets out recommendations for tackling the bureaucracy faced by large direct contract employers delivering Apprenticeships. The report “Employer Reference Group - Simplifying end?to?end apprenticeship processes for employers” is available at www.lsis.org.uk
  3. The recommendations and actions arising from this project will be taken forward by the Skills Funding Agency and National Apprenticeship Service, working with BIS and DfE, Ofsted, Ofqual and other partners including employers and their representative bodies.
  4. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See [http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom](http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom) for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

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Published 6 September 2011