< News | 06.11.2017

CII at Labour Party Conference highlight support needed for SMEs

CII at Labour Party Conference highlight support needed for SMEs

The CII co-hosted the Apprenticeship Forum fringe event at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. In attendance was Gordon Marsden, shadow minister for Education outlining the Party’s views on the topic.

In answer to the CII’s question about how Labour would support SME access to apprenticeship training provision, Mr Marsden agreed this was a crucial topic. He claimed the current non-levy funding tender process was “chaotic”.

Mr Marsden reiterated Labour’s commitment as outlined in the manifesto to protect the £440m apprenticeship funding for non-levy employers and called for better support for the currently under-resourced Institute for Apprenticeships.

Mr Marsden described the government’s plans to allow levy payers to spend 10% of their levy on their supply chain as a “sticking plaster”.

He praised professional bodies for the work they have done in this area but was keen to emphasise the view that the government should not look to micromanage the process from Whitehall, rather decentralising elements of skills policy-making and using devolution to pilot schemes.

Sian Fisher, CEO of CII, said: “Apprenticeships are now an integral part of how our profession attracts, develops and retains talent. We have always been keen to work with policymakers to ensure the needs of all firms in our sector are taken into consideration and in light of this we welcome the shadow minister’s commitment to supporting apprenticeship provisions for SMEs.”

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