The latest figures published by the Department for Education show a continued and significant fall in apprenticeship uptake compared to the same period year on year.

Showing a 27% drop in apprenticeship starts, the news of the levy pulled a strong reaction to education leaders with Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, commenting

“Today’s figures showing a further drop in apprenticeship starts, are very worrying for the government, for employers and for UK productivity.”

“Government needs to act so that apprenticeship starts improve from their current levels.”

In a related issue where the allocations of funding to education providers for smaller companies that don’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy has left both the University of Chichester and Brighton without the means to deliver new Degree Apprenticeships, Geoff Edwards, CWS chairman and Executive Vice President of UK Operations at the high-end audio company Bowers and Wilkins said

“This curtailed funding will force education providers to work with just the Levy paying employers which, along the coast, are few and far between as only a small percentage of companies are large enough to actually pay the Apprenticeship Levy in this area,”

Director of CWS, Caroline Wood added,

“This is short-sighted thinking by the government and ignores the very real need smaller businesses have in the Coastal West Sussex region for young people with new skills to help local businesses develop their markets.”

Coastal West Sussex Partnership is very active in promoting apprenticeships and the importance of STEM educational subjects, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so that young people in the area can gain the skills needed by local businesses.

CWS is running its third Coastal STEMfest this year; an interactive series of events aimed at inspiring young people, particularly girls, to take STEM subjects to meet the growing national and local demand.

Coastal STEMfest culminates in the Big Bang at Butlins in Bognor Regis on March 8 – a day of exciting workshops set to inspire the scientists, engineers and mathematicians of the future.