Travel firms last chance to shape future of apprenticeships

Travel firms last chance to shape future of apprenticeships

Travel firms have just four days to help shape the future of apprenticeships in the sector, with critical issues related to overseas and seasonal staff still unresolved.

A consultation on government apprenticeships paid for by a new levy will close on September 5, ahead of planned implementation in April 2017.

The levy, which will be paid only by firms with an annual wage bill of more than £3 million, will provide employers in all sectors with funds to improve the quality of training for 16-18-year-olds.

Travel sector skills body People 1st is broadly happy with proposals that have put travel consultants in an annual funding band of £9,000 per apprentice.

Firms will be able to access up to that level to fund their training schemes from May.

Annette Allmark, director of strategy policy at People 1st, described the proposal as a “good result” for travel.

“What has been proposed is a positive step forward in terms of simplifying the way apprenticeships are funded,” she said.

But Allmark added that it was still vital firms had their say before the final plan is published in October, in particular due to two areas of concern.

One issue is whether schemes for overseas holiday reps who work for UK-based firms will be eligible. As apprentices must undergo a face-to-face assessment, firms would need to have the infrastructure in place in destinations to provide this.

The second concern is that the current proposals do not allow for a break in 12-month apprenticeships, so seasonal workers would be left out.

David Cameron’s government started a pilot scheme offering 18-month apprenticeships with a break in the middle, and Allmark said People 1st wanted this to be addressed in the new legislation.

The apprenticeship funding consultation can be found here

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