UK leaders back apprenticeships for all ages

01 March 2018 -

CMI have published an infographic document, Making waves with the levy, detailing apprenticeship survey results from over 1600 managers.

View the infographic

This research shows that the benefits of apprenticeships are clear, but we need to improve accessibility amid doubts that the government will hit the target of creating three million apprentices by 2020

Managers are backing apprenticeships for workers of all ages as a way to overturn the long-term employer underinvestment in skills, according to a new survey of 1,640 managers by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). 

Of those surveyed, 88% believe the Apprenticeship Levy should be spent on apprenticeships for all ages. Seven in 10 (69%) say that they would like to have a management and leadership apprentice in their team.

As National Apprenticeship Week brings the Levy into focus, CMI’s research reveals broad support for the initiative. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of those surveyed agreed that the Apprenticeship Levy is needed to increase employer investment in skills.

Despite strong support, almost half (47%) of all managers expressed doubt that the Government will hit its 2015 target of creating three million apprentices by 2020. This is paired with concerns from more than half of respondents (51%) that the country will need greater investment in skills post-Brexit. 

That said, almost half (48%) of managers across the country expect to see a rise in the number of new starters in the next 12 months. However, the picture varies from region to region, with 60% of managers in the South East predicting a rise in the number of new apprentices, compared to just 40% of managers in the North West. 


Eighty-one per cent of managers would like to see access to the digital apprenticeships service to be extended to small businesses. This was followed by 80% of employers wanting more freedom to spend the Levy on small businesses in their supply chain.


Managers suggested that the reasons for the slow take-up of apprenticeships include the time lag in adjusting to the new system (28%) and waiting on relevant standards to be approved (22%). Indeed, over 900 new apprentices have been eagerly waiting to start their Senior Leaders Masters’ Apprenticeship, with funding only finally approved last week (27 February), despite the Standard being approved back in August.

Making Waves with the Levy infographic



Benefits of new management apprenticeships include increasing productivity (73%); employee retention (72%), engagement and motivation (76%), expanding the talent pool (85%) and creating a learning culture (84%), according to the business leaders surveyed. 

Employer case studies


CMI calls on businesses and the Government to work more closely to make apprenticeships more easily available for all at a time when the UK needs to prepare for a post-Brexit future.

Petra Wilton, director of strategy for the Chartered Management Institute, says: “For those managers and apprentices now using the Levy, they’re clearly already advocates and starting to reap the business benefits. But too many businesses are still missing out. As we kick off National Apprenticeship Week, far more needs to be done to showcase successes, widen access to smaller businesses, and to raise awareness of how apprentices can work for all.

“The Apprenticeship Levy should be seen as a “skills investment plan”, and the funds can be used to invest in programmes for school leavers and existing employees. Businesses may not even be aware that they can use the levy to train managers and leaders at every level. We now need more collaboration to ensure that this support from managers for apprenticeships translates into a new way of training and upskilling the workforce.

“The broad scope of these new apprenticeships means that we’ll see school leavers all the way to executives embark on apprenticeships that will advance their careers and benefit their employers. The likes of the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship programme is now producing its first graduates, managers with world-class skills needed to meet the business challenges of the 21st century.”

CMI has led the way in developing a suite of trailblazing management apprenticeships with a 40-strong group of employers. These start from Level 3 (team leader) and Level 5 (operations manager) through to Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, and the Senior Leaders Master’s Degree Apprenticeship, giving employers the option to upskill managers of all levels. For more information visit