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Please find below an open letter published today (13 Jun) from representatives from government, business schools, businesses and other organisations – including Sony, Airbus, Barclays, Santander, Euan Blair’s start-up WhiteHat, the Sutton Trust, the Chartered Management Institute, Aston Martin and the British Library – defending the apprenticeship levy.

We’ve all seen first-hand that apprenticeships can change the lives of apprentices – and the businesses they work with – for the better; and we believe that the apprenticeship levy gives employers a real opportunity to invest in training, bringing the well-recognised enthusiasm and new ideas of apprentices to their business.

Employers are developing new, high-quality apprenticeships, at all levels, all the time. World-leading companies like Google, Facebook and Sage are kicking off new apprenticeships in sectors at the cutting edge – and that’s great to see. 

We’re also pleased to see more people starting on new higher and advanced level apprenticeships; these are a passport into a range of exciting industries, including nuclear, food science, law, engineering, professional services, construction, and digital technology.

The new Chartered Surveyor Apprenticeship has proven popular with over 900 people starting on it since the start of 2015/16, and more than 1,700 people have now started a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, giving them the chance to advance into leadership roles. Degree apprenticeships are being rolled out across a variety of subjects, with over 100 higher education institutions now on board.

We need to make sure business has the skilled workers it needs - at all levels; and the jobs of tomorrow are likely to require a greater focus on technical education. So while it is fantastic that apprenticeship opportunities are becoming more diverse and high quality, there is more we can all do.

University should not continue to be viewed as the only route to a successful career. Giving people choice is essential, whether they pursue a technical route or an academic one. That’s why we should support employers in making use of the levy, and in providing opportunities for people to learn, earn, and get on in life.

Anne Milton, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister

Sir Gerry Berragan, CEO, Institute for Apprenticeships

Euan Blair and Sophie Adelman, Co-Founders, WhiteHat

Steve Dalton, Managing Director, Sony Global Manufacturing & Operations Corporation

Andy Palmer, President & CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd

Mark Stewart, General Manager and HR Director, Airbus

Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships, Barclays

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, Chairman of Lloyd’s of London, Chairman of Moneysupermarket.com Group, Vice-Chairman of Banco Santander BA

Sir Peter Lampl, Founder, Sutton Trust

Dalton Leong, Chief Executive, The Children's Trust

Dame Louise Makin, CEO, BTG plc

Phil Spence, Chief Operating Officer, The British Library

Chris Blackburn, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Dean, Oxford Brookes Business School, Oxford Brookes University

Timothy Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor & Principal, University of Chester

Baback Yazdani, Dean of Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University

Professor Angus Laing FRSA Dean, Lancaster University Management School

Lucy Ireland, Managing Director, British Computer Society Learning & Development

Karen Price OBE, CEO, Tech Partnership

Ann Francke, CEO, Chartered Management Institute

Joanne Gogerly, Operations Manager, Siemens

Paul Devoy, Chief Executive, Investors in People

Gail Bayes, Deputy Director of NTW Academy Development, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Rosalind Penny, Assistant Director of Organisation Development, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Krista Brown, Recruitment Director, the SES Group

Dr Rami Ranger CBE, Chairman, Sun Mark

Gemma Simmonds, Head of Career and Development, Colas Rail

Ben Rowland, Co-Founder, Arch Apprentices

Anne Thomas, Head of Serco Education, Serco UK & Europe

John Jeffcock, Chief Executive, Winmark C-Suite

Paul Cadman, H.R. Director, Walter Smith Fine Foods Ltd

Bridget Bartlett, Chair of Construction and Built Environment Education Advisory Committee, Trustee of University College of Estate Management 

Jeannette Lichner, Managing Director, KOF Business Solutions

Gillian Wilmot, Chairman of UK Coaching, Senet, Board Mentoring, Member of the Industrial Development Advisory Board

Justin Rix, Partner, Grant Thornton UK LLP

David A Hare, Associate Director, Talent Solutions, Growth Services, Grant Thornton UK LLP

Christopher Bones, Chairman & Co-Founder, Good Growth Limited

Zoe Cunningham, Managing Director, Softwire

Robert Vince, Director, JRV Associates Ltd

Chris McLaughlin, Leadership Learning Manager, Ricoh UK

Dawn Ward CBE, Chief Executive and Principal, Burton and South Derbyshire College

Duncan Cheatle, CEO, Learn Amp

Garry Phillips, CEO, West London College

Karen Jones, Group Human Resources Director, Redrow Homes Limited

Mark Kenrick, CEO, px limited 

Dylan Hannigan, Education Manager, KFC UK & Ireland

Matt Chamberlain, Apprenticeship Business Partner, Wirral University Teaching Hospital

Brian May, Managing Director, Berthon Boat Company Ltd

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