UKHospitality has welcomed the UK Government's proposal to sanction 20,000 more apprenticeships and reform the scheme by funding training for young people and cutting red tape for small firms.

The Government has pledged to pay the full cost of apprenticeships for people aged 21 or under at small businesses from 1 April, with £60m of new investment planned for next year.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The people who work in hospitality are the beating heart of our sector and are the reason we can provide quality food, drink, experiences and service. Investing in people is so important and it’s one of the reasons we see so many people progress through the sector, going from bar to board in a matter of years.

“The changes to apprenticeships announced by the Prime Minister today are very positive. Removing the fee for non-levy payers and expanding the definition of SMEs will all benefit smaller businesses. Increasing the levy transfer amount to 50% will free up more funds to be used for training, rather than being left unused.

“Overall, there is much to be pleased about, and these changes will benefit both businesses and employees. However, the reality is that the entire apprenticeship system is structurally broken. The levy itself needs reform to allow businesses more flexibility with funding and I would urge the Government to make that a central pillar of its skills agenda.”