The government’s planned apprenticeship levy has been described as a “massive game changer” by chief executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (Niace) David Hughes.

Mr Hughes (pictured above) was glowing in his praise for the levy, which was first announced by chancellor George Osborne in July and has come in for fierce criticismfrom the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), at today’s Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) conference in Coventry.

He said that the charge on large employers would be “massive game changer” that presented a “massive opportunity” to improve vocational training as the government tries to hit its target of creating 3m apprenticeships by 2020.

“We’ve got probably £1.5m coming into the sector [through the levy],” Mr Hughes added.

“What other bit of the public sector is going to get additional funding as a result of the spending review?”

Stewart Segal, AELP chief executive, also told the conference that he was “amazed” that the government had opted for the levy.

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