UK prime minister David Cameron has announced all bids for government contracts worth more than £10 million “must demonstrate a clear commitment to apprenticeships”.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said from 1 September bids would be reviewed “in line with best practice for the number of apprentices they expect to support”. The Crown Commercial Service is expected to publish details on what this means in practice "in due course".
The move is part of a wider strategy to boost the number of apprenticeships, which the government has pledged to increase to three million by 2020. The strategy includes a consultation on an “apprenticeship levy” that would be paid by large employers to increase investment in training.
Cameron said: “The greatest asset any employer has is their workforce. And by investing in them, they are investing in the success and future of their business.
“As a one nation government, we are committed to supporting three million quality apprenticeships over the next five years – to help strengthen our economy, deliver the skills that employers need and give millions more hard-working people financial security and a brighter future.”
BIS said apprenticeship proposals “made in any bid would be assessed and weighted alongside other elements relevant to the contract”.
“The successful bidder will then have its agreed apprenticeship numbers written into a contract schedule which can be monitored and necessary action taken if the numbers are not met.”
The consultation on the apprenticeship levy closes 2 October 2015.