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Apprenticeship levy

Apprenticeship levy

The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD) has released a new report, looking at the health of the UK’s food and drink workforce and the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy on the food and supply chain[8]. The report surveyed trade organisations and representative organisations from across the food and drink supply chain, including representatives from organisations, such as National Farmers’ Union (NUF), Food and Drink Federation (FDF), British Hospitality Association, Lantra and Landex.

Although the report acknowledges that the Government’s reforms are broadly ‘working well’ across the food supply chain, it raises concerns that non-levy paying companies, principally SMEs, are missing out on opportunities. Government reforms have sought to put control of the system – including the means to pay for apprenticeships – in the hands of employers. However, SMEs that do not pay the levy are reliant on providers who have been successful in gaining contracts to work with them. Not all of these providers have the specialist capability to deliver an apprenticeship to food businesses and this can result in SMEs being unable to access suitable training opportunities.

An employer driven quality initiative to recognise high quality food and drink providers as ‘Industry Approved’ could go some way to providing the industry with reassurance about capability. Recent research identified that 96% of employers would prefer to work with these providers, as they have been through a rigorous approval process demonstrating their credentials.

The NSAFD, on behalf of the Skills Working Group, is conven­ing a specialist group to look at how provision can better serve the needs of the food supply chain. Further research into the skills requirements of the wider food chain is already underway by the group, championed by FDF, with the aim of developing some tangible solutions to further im­prove the quality and availability of apprenticeships for all.  



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