Press release:

UK's new growth model needs to be founded on people and their skills says CMI

Tuesday 14 March 2023

In the run-up to the Chancellor's budget, the UK's professional body for managers and leaders, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), is calling on the Government to focus its growth efforts on high-level skills including apprenticeships, ​​which are the gold-standard form of workplace-based training and produce work-ready employees.

The call comes as new research from the CMI finds that employers value apprenticeships over university degrees with almost half of managers surveyed (48%) saying they believe an apprenticeship equivalent to a degree best prepares young people for work when compared to a university degree. Only 5% of employers believe university degrees are preferable to apprenticeships.

Anthony Painter, Policy Director at the CMI, said:

If the UK is going to find a new growth model, helping more workers acquire the skills that employers need now, and in the next decade, is simply a no-brainer.

Businesses and the skills sector are devoting so much time to one pot of investment - the Apprenticeship Levy. The simple reality is that we have to massively upgrade take-up of high-level skills by individuals and employers across the board. Shifting the levy from one form of training to another falls way short. This requires new thinking, new investment, new incentives for workers and employers alike. We are lagging and we need to catch up rapidly.

CMI is calling for:

  1. New tax allowances to encourage investment in skills and the ability to claw back tax where a worker leaves before the employer has seen the return on investment.
  2. A cash grant to support early adopters of the lifelong loan entitlement where employers are also willing to contribute.
  3. An options analysis of levy rates and coverage to consider how a different structure post-2025 could increase investment in high-level skills rather than simply diverting existing resources between different forms of training through the existing levy.
  4. A network of apprenticeship accelerators to support SMEs to engage in apprenticeships and an apprenticeship opportunity fund to support those who are struggling financially or practically with completing their apprenticeship.
  5. New regional skills deals to give local employers, skills providers and local and regional government stakeholders more discretion over use of all funding for HE, FE, apprenticeships and other adult education.

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Notes to editors

  • The new survey cited is from CMI Managers Voice Pulse Point Poll, conducted between 19th and 24th January 2023.
  • A total of 1,299 managers took part in the poll.
  • Please note the findings relate to practising managers in employment in the UK.
  • Anthony Painter is available for interview.