By Daniel Hunter

The government has outlined the next step in apprenticeship reform, making the pledge to give employers direct control of funding for the training of apprentices.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: "Last month we celebrated the start of the 2 millionth apprenticeship since 2010. This was an important milestone in the government’s long term economic plan. If we are going improve and expand our apprenticeship programme further we must put employers in the driving seat - and give them control of both the design and funding of apprenticeships.

"I look forward to working with employer organisations and others to develop a funding model that is simple, transparent and easy for employers to use."

The government said that giving employers control of apprenticeship funding will enable them to select the training that best meets their skills needs and will drive up the quality of apprenticeships. The government response outlines that while putting employers in control of apprenticeship funding is a non-negotiable part of the reforms, it is clear from the feedback received that further detailed design work is needed before there can be a final decision on how this would work in practice.

The government said it is committed to delivering a simple, effective funding process which works for employers of all sizes and further collaboration with the sector will take place to ensure this is achieved.

The funding reforms will continue to be developed alongside the trailblazer programme - giving employers control over the design of apprenticeships. Over 1,000 employers, of all sizes, are now part of the trailblazers scheme in industries including engineering, legal services and health and social care. In December, 22 new standards were published, with employers leading the design of apprenticeships in data analysis, aircraft maintenance and construction management.

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