8.1. It is clear from the findings that the majority of respondents supported all of the proposals in the consultation document. These are summarised below, along with the proportion of respondents who agreed with each:
- To maintain the Scottish Government's commitment to 30,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts a year by 2020 (63% agreed).
- For Apprenticeship Levy funding to support growth in the number of Graduate Level Apprenticeships in Scotland (79%) agreed).
- To use Apprenticeship Levy funding to establish a flexible skills fund (79%).
- To use Apprenticeship Levy funding to support the expansion of Foundation Apprenticeships (65%).
- To use Apprenticeship Levy funding to help unemployed people move into employment, and to help meet the workforce development needs of employers (66%).
Benefits of the proposals
8.2. Many of the comments focused on the benefits of, and reasons to support the proposals.
8.3. The analysis identified the following reasons to maintain the current level of commitment to MAs. This was seen to be:
- Appropriate, ambitious, challenging and based on evidence of need.
- Consistent with current capacity; the overall approach to MAs; and the wider economic context.
- The best way to ensure and maintain the quality of MAs.
8.4. The analysis also identified a number of common themes in the reasons given to support the other proposed uses of Apprenticeship Levy funding. These were that the proposals would help to:
- Meet the needs of employers.
- Meet the needs of specific sectors, or for specific skills.
- Meet the needs of the Scottish economy.
- Meet the needs of individuals.
- Promote equality and diversity and address the needs of specific groups.
- Address gaps in, or limitations to current provision.
- Support the overall policy approach.
Concerns about the proposals
8.5. A smaller number of respondents identified concerns about the proposals at each of the questions.
8.6. Just over a quarter (28%), for example, favoured an increase in the level of commitment to MAs, suggesting that this would help to: meet the needs of employers and the wider economy; address gaps in current provision; and make use of the Levy funding which will be available.
8.7. Around a sixth of respondents in each case disagreed with the use of Apprenticeship Levy funding to support growth in the number of Graduate Level Apprenticeships in Scotland (16%) and to use it to establish a flexible skills fund (17%).
8.8. Just over a quarter of respondents in each case disagreed with the use of Apprenticeship Levy funding to support the expansion of Foundation Apprenticeships (27%) and to use it to help unemployed people move into employment, and to help meet the workforce development needs of employers (28%).
8.9. Some common themes were identified in the issues or concerns raised about these proposed uses of the funding. Concerns related to views that:
- There is a lack of demand for, or benefit from the proposed use of funding.
- The proposals represent an inappropriate use of Apprenticeship Levy funding.
- They may divert funding from the main priority.
- They should be funded in other ways.
- The proposals may have a negative impact on wider issues, such as other opportunities for learning, training, skills development and employment.
8.10. The findings identified many suggestions about developments to learning, training, skills development and employment. Again, while there many specific, detailed suggestions, the analysis highlighted a number of common themes. These related to:
- The overall approach to the use of Apprenticeship Levy funding (with a number of suggestions about common principles for the use of this).
- Specific developments in each of the types of provision examined ( e.g. MAs, GLAs, wider workforce development, FAs and work to improve access to employment).
- Developments in specific sectors / subject areas.
- Developments for specific groups.
- Types of funding arrangements for using the Apprenticeship Levy.
8.11. A number of other comments were made in the consultation, relating to the following broad themes:
- Current issues and concerns (particularly the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy).
- Additional implementation suggestions for the Apprenticeship Levy.
- Comments on the consultation.
- Provision of additional (often detailed) Information about the respondent.
8.12. All of the consultation findings, and the detailed material within the full report and the individual responses, will help to inform the Scottish Government's consideration of the way forward for the use of Apprenticeship Levy funding in Scotland.