Is Senior Management Cashing in on Apprenticeships?

There is growing criticism of how the apprenticeship levy is being used by firms.

The Story

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson believes too many organisations are using up their apprenticeship funding in the wrong way and on the wrong people. He feels that it is the disadvantaged and those who wish to kick start their careers who should be benefiting most from the apprenticeship levy and not senior managers.


“I’d rather see funding helping to kick-start careers or level up skills and opportunities.”


What’s changed with apprenticeships?

The new apprenticeship levy was meant to provide a way to encourage organisations to invest in training new staff and upskilling existing ones. Instead, it looks like it’s become a bit of a gravy train for existing management to study MBA’s and similar Postgraduate qualifications. The Education Secretary states “I’m not convinced the levy should be used to pay for staff, who are often already highly qualified and highly paid……”


Is it all negative?

Is this such a big problem? Well yes and no. The number of staff taking advantage of funds to study higher level qualifications is relatively low compared to the total number of people undertaking apprenticeships. But the proportion is increasing as the number of apprenticeships in total falls. The danger is apprenticeships will lose even more credibility in the eyes of those who should be encouraged to take them, thus creating an ever-decreasing downward spiral.


But is the notion of senior managers using funds from the apprenticeship levy really that bad? After all, the aim of completing qualifications such as MBAs is to improve the performance of the individual. This will then enhance the performance of the organisation as a whole. Is there anything wrong with this? The jury is still out as opponents of the new scheme feel to many of them fall into the category of ‘fake apprenticeships’. They believe the whole system needs tightening up, something the Education Secretary is planning to look at.



If you’re interested in the idea of apprenticeships and want to find out more about them, then see our article here.


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