ScreenSkills (the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen-based creative industries) and Creative & Cultural Skills (arts and culture) are conducting this questionnaire on behalf of the creative industries. The Creative Industries Federation (the membership body for the creative industries) along with other creative industries organisations including UK Music, the Crafts and Design Councils and the Society of London Theatre plus UK Theatre will support both skills councils in analysing its outcome and championing recommendations. The purpose of the questionnaire is to begin developing the evidence base that would be needed to underpin any business case to the Government for some changes to the apprenticeship rules which could make the apprenticeship system work better for the creative industries.

We have been told many times by employers that the current apprenticeship rules don’t work for the creative industries because of the particular nature of those industries, such as the high preponderance of freelancers and micro-businesses. But, if we want to persuade the Government to change those rules, we need to have firm evidence and to build a robust business case to demonstrate that the changes we might propose would have a positive impact. This questionnaire is the first step in gathering that evidence that could lead into that business case, so it is important that as many employers as possible complete it. We are not pre-judging what the evidence will tell us or whether or not a business case would stand up to scrutiny.


The Government has reformed the apprenticeship system, including:

· Introducing the mandatory apprenticeship levy for employers with annual wage bill of over £3m. Employers in this category pay 0.5% of the amount above the £3m (so an employer with a pay bill of £4m would pay 0.5% x £1m = £5k)

· Those levy payers can then use the money they have paid into the levy to pay for the training element of the cost of an apprentice – typically the cost of sending them to college or private sector training provider (apprentice wages cannot be paid from levy funds). So the full cost of the college / other training provider costs can be covered by levy funds within certain maximums (more on that below).

· For employers with an annual wage bill of less than £3m, at least 90% of the cost of the college / other training provider cost is covered by the Government and you have to pay the remaining 10%. This is also subject to certain maximums as, explained below.

· All new apprenticeships have to be delivered against a formal ‘standard’, supported by at least 10 employers and approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA). Each standard is placed in a set funding band, intended to reflect the associated training costs. The funding band sets the maximum training cost that can be covered referred to above.

Issues for the creative industries

The creative industries are forecast to raise c£75m p.a. However, at present, the available evidence suggests there is little prospect of the industry being able to spend anything like that amount on apprenticeships.

The larger companies that pay the levy often don’t have the headcount which would allow them to recruit apprentices in the numbers they would need to in order to recoup their levy payments. Furthermore, they would often struggle to meet the 12 month contract rule because, in film making for example, the production is managed via a special purpose vehicle which is not normally engaged in constant production over a full 12 months.
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25% of survey complete.