Young people are cut off from being economic stakeholders

February 15, 2023 

The skills gap will continue to broaden unless the Government can put young people at the centre of our economic recovery.

During National Apprenticeship Week, business leaders called for a reform of apprenticeships in the UK after reports of £600 million being sent back to the HM Treasury last year, which could have funded over 60,000 applications.

The warning came from Chair of the Purpose Business Coalition, Lord John Walney, at the first in a series of roundtables hosted by Pertemps, looking at how businesses can better connect their opportunities with talent, find and develop the right skills for those roles, and increase engagement of colleagues.  

Attended by West Midlands education establishments and business leaders, the first session focused on the workforce of the future, exploring how jobs are changing, and how skills can level-up and transform communities across the country.

At the end of the series, a report will be published which summarises the findings and actions moving forward, including contributions from key employers during the roundtable sessions.

Carmen Watson, Chair of Pertemps Network Group, said: “Lord Walney hit the nail on the head at our event when he said that. 

“Apprentices are essential in helping us to address the UK’s skills gap and to boost our economy, but businesses need more flexibility on how they spend the levy to create even more opportunities for employers to work collaboratively.”  

Last year, in partnership with The Purpose Coalition, headed by Former Education Secretary Rt Hon Justine Greening and Lord Walney, Pertemps produced a Levelling Up Impact Report highlighting the work by Pertemps in helping jobseekers who may have experienced barriers to employment, including young people, ex-service personnel, ex-offenders and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Click here to view our impact report

Established in 2021 by former Education Secretary Rt Hon Justine Greening with input from businesses, universities and policymakers, they provide a framework to help tackle the challenges the country faces following the pandemic. They focus on key life stages – from early years through to adulthood, alongside other barriers such as open recruitment and fair career progression – and identify the main issues that need to be resolved to create a level playing field for everyone.

To find out more about the Purpose Coalition, visit

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