In response to figures obtained by the BBC that reveal employers are failing to use hundreds of millions of pounds that was intended for training apprentices, Sally Gilson, Head of Skills Policy at FTA, comments:
“As the business organisation representing the logistics sector, FTA needs the government to realise that the hundreds of millions of pounds in unused apprenticeship funding points towards a flaw in the current system. Logistics businesses have now been paying into the apprenticeship levy for the past three years without suitable standards against which to draw down funding; as such, they are unable to use the funds to improve and expand their workforces, and the payments are essentially a secondary tax on an industry already operating on very slim margins. With the sector facing a ticking employment “time bomb” – 64% of transport and storage businesses are now facing severe labour shortages – the levy needs urgent reform to enable businesses to access this vital resource. According to FTA, the apprenticeship levy should be transformed into skills levy; this would allow previously unused funds to be utilised for more flexible training programmes.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep the UK trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.