Royal Holloway has joined a group of leading universities, students unions and businesses to call on Government to invest in skills through greater flexibility of apprenticeship levy funds.
In a letter sent to the Government, the leaders of ten universities along with multinational companies, local enterprise partnerships and student representatives have recommended that urgent action is taken to prioritise skills funding as the United Kingdom looks towards an economic recovery following the pandemic.
Writing to the Treasury and Department for Education which are responsible for the Government’s skills agenda, the group of signatories make the case for a time-limited broadening of apprenticeship levy funding to be used for the skills ‘agenda’. The letter also calls on Ministers to look at proposals for companies to be able to use their unspent apprenticeship levy to tackle regional skills gaps in locally-led partnerships between businesses and educational providers.
Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway and co-signatory of the letter, said: “The challenges of the pandemic have taught us the need to act fast and flexibly. As a new cohort of young people start their transition into employment, we are calling on the Government to help us give them the very best chances to succeed, in particular by exploring how money locked up in the apprenticeship levy can be used more flexibly. This new generation of graduates will play a key role in our future success as a country and we owe it to them to give our full support.”
Kate Roberts, President of Royal Holloway Students’ Union, said: “Throughout the pandemic students have consistently been an afterthought for the Government while also bearing the brunt of job losses in the hospitality, retail and entertainment sectors. Opening up the apprenticeship levy can act as a catalyst in levelling up the economy whilst also giving hard working graduates and local businesses a pathway to future success.”