The Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (ITP) has called on the telecoms industry to make greater use of apprenticeship funding following the release of figures that show millions remains unspent.
Employers lost access to £26m of apprenticeship levy funding in June alone, according to the skills minister. An estimated £37m has been taken back by the Government after the first two months that funds can expire from levy-paying employers’ accounts.
The ITP is urging all employers to invest in apprenticeship schemes, particularly small businesses that may not realise they are entitled to funding.
ITP CEO Crissi Williams said: “This is a staggering amount of money which is not being used by employers.
"It impacts both levy and non-levy paying as both are able to use it to run apprenticeship and training schemes.
"In an industry facing a huge skills gap, apprenticeships are a logical way to future-proof an organisation and this funding needs to be used.”
Levy-paying employers (with a payroll of £3m or more) pay into the pot and have 24 months in which to spend it. Once they have passed this time, the funds expire on a monthly basis.
“There still appears to be confusion surrounding levy funding and training," added Williams.
"While the businesses receiving funding need to spend it within 24 months, smaller businesses may be entitled to funding without realising.
"Setting up a scheme doesn’t have to be complicated, and every year we see the benefits apprentices contribute to our member organisations.”
The ITP launched its apprenticeship scheme in 2013 to help telecoms companies set up, run and manage apprenticeship schemes.
Since then it has created more than 100 roles across the industry.