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Call for FM sector to lobby government on apprentice funding

19 December 2017

All FM businesses are being urged by BIFM to lobby the government to increase funding levels of degree-level apprenticeships in FM.

Applying political pressure to MPs and the chair of the Education Select Committee is intended to secure improved levels of support for the industry's apprenticeship standards.

Delivery of these standards has been thrown into doubt following the Institute for Apprenticeships (IAF) recommendation that a maximum funding band would only provide partial coverage.

Current funding of £18,000 for an FM degree compared to £27,000 for a general management degree is at odds with the £120bn contribution that the industry makes to the UK economy, BIFM argued.

If the ruling of the Education Select Committee remains unchanged, FM companies will face a widening skills gap as many will be unable to make extra payments in addition to their existing levy contributions.

Businesses with a wage bill of more than £3m are required to pay the Apprenticeship Levy, which are then able to access funds to deliver training.

BIFM chief executive officer Linda Hausmanis said funding decisions were hampering the positive contribution the levy should be making to essential skills in the FM sector.

Stating that it was "absolutely crucial" for the sector to continue to invest in skills to support its valuable contribution to the UK economy, she said: "In its current form, the levy is choking off the critical pipeline of FM apprenticeships."

Sheffield Hallam University principal lecturer in FM Paul Wyton said the university is working with the industry and BIFM to meet the degree-level apprenticeship standard "in good faith that this could be funded through levy contributions.

"Faced by continual financial and bureaucratic hurdles, we now have serious concerns that businesses will turn away from investing in the skills and training that the sector needs," he said.

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