British insurance firms have dramatically ramped up the number of apprenticeships working in the sector.
According to new figures from the Association of British Insurers, which represents 250 firms, the number of its members offering apprenticeship schemes has increased by 47 per cent since the introduction of the government’s apprenticeship levy last year.
Its inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Data collection sourced from November 2017 to January 2018, and timed to land at the end of National Apprenticeship Week, revealed that over three-quarters (82 per cent) of its members were hiring apprentices. Before the levy was introduced just over half of its insurers were doing so.
The same figures revealed that an estimated £55m is spent by the industry on training and development per year including apprenticeships, management training and mentoring programmes targeted at the underrepresented within firms.
The ABI’s director general Huw Evans said that the figures showed that the insurance industry has maintained a strong track record of developing and nurturing talent.
“This is demonstrated by the number of industry leaders that rose through the ranks to get to where they are today,” Evans said.
“This data demonstrates that firms are now investing huge amounts in providing alternative routes into the industry, and to see such an increase in the number of our members offering apprenticeships is very promising.”
The apprentice levy was introduced in April 2017 requiring all employers with an annual wage bill of over £3m to pay 0.5 per cent of it towards funding apprenticeships.
The money is invested in training for apprentices with the aim of doubling the annual investment in apprenticeships in England to £2.5bn by 2019 to 2020.
But questions over its effectiveness persist.
According to the Department for Education’s most recent apprenticeship and levy statistics for November 2017, the number of apprenticeship starts across UK employers fell to 27,000 from 41,600 in the same month in 2016.
The CIPD, also marking the end of National Apprenticeship Week, said that there was “still a way to go” in meeting the government’s aims.
It urged the government to open up the levy to fund more than just apprenticeships, and to encourage wider investment in training in the workplace.
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