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Apprenticeships are under-utilised and in need of reform, says Lantra

by | 17 Jan 24 | Commercial Landscaping, Grounds Maintenance, News

A “flexible” and “joined-up” approach is necessary to resolve the workforce issues impacting the land-based sector, Lantra has told a committee of MPs.

Speaking before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee, the land-based and environmental training body’s chair of trustees, Dr David Llewellyn CBE gave insight into which labour shortages should be addressed to build a more resilient sector.

The Committee is already exploring the relationship between education and the land-based industries and whether learners are being properly equipped with the required skills and knowledge.

The inquiry is also considering what more can be done to facilitate new entrants into the land-based sector.

Dr Llewellyn CBE, who was also a member of the Independent Review of Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain, told MPs, “It is vital that we provide a skilled workforce and bring new entrants into a sector that is central to meeting the twin challenges of food security and climate change.”

He adds that recent research shows “apprenticeships are under-utilised in the land-based industries” but with the right approach for “a sector dominated by micro-and small businesses, there is every prospect that new entrants could be brought into the workforce.”

Calling on the support of EFRA, Dr Llewellyn says “Lantra could trial new methods for the delivery of apprenticeship training, whether that is via a flexible approach to full apprenticeship programmes or experimenting with shorter, work-ready training over a 6-month period.

“In parallel, we need to ensure that our current workforce has up-to-date skills and knowledge to operate safely, effectively and sustainably.”

Referring to the industry backing for a reformed apprenticeship levy in England, he adds “that would also support other types of training and, in particular, the increased use of short-course training.”

Recent reports show that almost £100m of apprenticeship levy and Department for Education funds were unspent or returned to the Treasury for general expenditure in the 2022/23 financial year.

Dr Llewellyn says this “demonstrates that there is scope for this reform.”

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