The five-minute management idea: a government-funded skills boost

29 March 2018 -

Pioneering leaders

SMEs can now benefit from the Apprenticeship Levy and invest in digital and technical skills

Jermaine Haughton

In the Spring Statement Chancellor Philip Hammond unlocked millions of pounds in funding to help SMEs take on new apprentices.

Hammond confirmed £80m will be available to help small businesses access the Apprenticeship Levy, and the funding will help deliver three million apprenticeship starts by 2020.

How could it help you? Petra Wilton, director of strategy for the Chartered Management Institute, says the extra funding will help managers to nurture soft and technical skills in future leaders.


“Many large employers are now identifying key higher-level skills gaps in management, digital and engineering, and as a result the fastest growing new degree apprenticeships are across these areas. Small businesses, the engines of the UK economy, now have the same opportunity to develop their staff.

“The Chancellor’s £80m helping hand for small businesses will enable more people to benefit from apprenticeships, and will be music to the ears of employers and learners. According to our research, 81% of bosses want access to the digital apprenticeships service to be extended to small businesses to drive up apprenticeship numbers. The majority also back Levy funding to be spent on apprenticeships for all ages,” she explained.


The Spring Statement also reaffirmed the Government’s support of T-levels, the new technical qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds that are set to be introduced in September 2020 and supported by major employers such as Rolls Royce and EDF.

Sitting alongside apprenticeships, T-levels are a two-year course (the technical equivalent of the current A-levels) designed to train young people with the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to enter skilled employment in highly-demanded careers, such as software development or engineering.

In addition to pledging £500 million a year to fund the new technical qualifications, Hammond also announced £50m to help employers roll out suitable three-month long work placements for T-level students.

The announcements came after the Government announced a more positive outlook for the economy. In his speech, the Chancellor told MPs the UK’s economic growth is expected to be 1.5% this year, up from the 1.4% forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility in November. Forecasts for 2019 and 2020 remain unchanged at 1.3% expansion.