Skills minister Matt Hancock has dismissed as “bonkers” the notion that businesses taking on apprentices might be expected to put up the full cost of the apprenticeship from their own money at the start of the process.
Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, he said: “Of course we’re not going to ask businesses to put up the full cost and only get it back later; that would be bonkers.”
He added that government proposals to change the way apprenticeships are organised and funding have been welcomed by many companies.
“In the last month representatives of half a million businesses have written to say they support what we’re doing to give them control over the funding,” he claimed.
But not everybody is happy with the current proposals, which would make apprenticeships a minimum of a year long, with 20% or more training outside of the workplace.
Employers would be expected to collaborate directly with colleges in order to create suitable educational programmes for their apprentices to study – something many might simply not have the time to do.
Diane Johnson, an electrical contractor based inCheshire, is part of the Electrical Contractors’ Association, which surveyed its members to find out their views on the change.
She tells BBC Newsbeat that 600 firms responded with comments saying the move will “wreck our industry” and asking for it to be blocked.
“The fear for companies is that, with all the bureaucracy and the cash flow issues, it will go on the ‘too difficult’ pile and it will be binned,” she warned. “Then the future for our young apprentices is bleak.”