The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) is urging business owners in the electrotechnical sector to write to their local MPs expressing their fears about the impact of proposed changes to apprenticeship funding.
Under the proposed new system, employers will receive apprentice funding directly and use it to purchase training and assessment for their apprentices from registered training providers. They will also be required to make a cash contribution towards apprenticeship tuition.
The ECA is concerned this new approach will lead to cash flow problems for SMEs and burden them with uneccessary bureaucracy, and is calling on electrical contractors to write to their constituency MPs and ask them to work with industry and the Government to find a more suitable means of paying for apprenticeships.
“We’ve had a number of meetings with key political figures where we have discussed the proposed new system and the impact it could have on our sector and other skilled industries,” said Alex Meikle, ECA director of employment and skills. “It’s fair to say these have been productive and we’ve had a sympathetic hearing, but the next step is to raise awareness and garner support at grassroots level. Hopefully by doing this we can persuade the Government to look at an alternative approach to funding, or at the very least exempt the electrotechnical sector from the new funding proposals. Any business owners who are worried about these proposed changes should write to their constituency MPs setting out their fears about this proposal, and highlighting the impact it could have on their company and others like it.”
The ECA has developed a framework letter that outlines common industry concerns about the proposed changes to apprentice funding and highlights some of the potential consequences for firms in the sector, which is available to download by visiting Once downloaded, businesses can edit the letter as they wish and then send to their local MP. Also available is a link to a website which enables constituents to find out who their local MP is by typing in their postcode.
Alex Meikle added: “The ‘one size fits all’ approach to apprenticeship funding proposed by Government will not work because of the widely varying circumstances that exist in different sectors of industry. Government has hugely underestimated the impact this will have on the thousands of SMEs that are found in the electrical sector and across the construction supply chain. The solution may be to develop more than one system, so sectors with an established apprenticeship programme are able to carry on training successfully, while those sectors who are new to apprenticeships, and may find the Government’s approach helpful, adopt the proposed system.”