A Freedom of Information request made by the Open University (OU) has revealed that £3 billion in Apprenticeship Levy funding remains unused, meaning that only 14% of available funding is being utilised by employers.
Further research carried out by the OU revealed that although employers agree in principle with the Apprenticeship Levy, many have been left feeling 'frustrated' with the scheme. A handful of employers stated that the process for applying for funding has 'put them off', while 66% reported that they find the system confusing.
Furthermore, some employers said that the apprenticeships available are 'not flexible enough to meet their needs', while others revealed that government changes mean that they are 'unable to make long-term strategic decisions'.
Of those who have embraced the Apprenticeship Levy, 27% stated that it has been good for their organisation, while 20% said that working with apprentices has delivered 'significant benefits'.
Commenting on the matter, David Willett, Corporate Director at the OU, said: 'Employers are missing out on a golden opportunity to close skills gaps and ensure that their organisations are equipped with the ability, agility and knowledge required to handle upcoming challenges.
'With so many employers experiencing skills shortages, it's crucial that they make use of the Levy and invest in training to ensure that their organisations remain strong and competitive in the future.'