“The NBRA welcomes the recent announcement made by the Prime Minister, unveiling a comprehensive reform package aimed at revitalising apprenticeships and alleviating regulatory burdens for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK. These initiatives represent a significant stride towards fostering economic growth and addressing critical skills shortages within key industries.” Said Martyn Rowley, Executive Director of the National Body Repair Association (NBRA).

He continued: “For years, the NBRA has been an advocate for restructuring the apprenticeship levy. Citing its inefficiency in nurturing new apprenticeships. This echoes a prevailing belief in the automotive industry, which faces a significant skills shortage made worse by the transition to electric vehicles (EV).”

Key highlights of the impending reform package include:

  • Full government funding for apprenticeships in small businesses, covering the entire cost of training for individuals up to the age of 21, effective April 1.
  • An additional £60 million in government funding earmarked for the upcoming year to support apprenticeship initiatives.
  • An increase in the proportion of funding that employers paying the apprenticeship levy can allocate the other businesses, rising from 25% to 50%, effective April.
  • Anticipated further deregulatory measures by the Prime Minister to simplify both financial and non-financial reporting for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), aiming to save businesses across the UK approximately £150 million per year.

Martyn Rowley concluded: “The NBRA looks forward to the tangible impact these reforms will have on apprenticeship creation, small business growth, and the overall economic landscape of the UK. As a committed partner in this endeavour, the NBRA pledges its unwavering support to collaborate with the government and industry stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation and success of these vital reforms.”