Further tweaks to the apprenticeship levy look to certain to be made in the autumn, when new chancellor Savid Javid delivers his first Budget.

In his final Budget speech in October 2018, former chancellor Philip Hammond halved the amount small firms taking on apprentices had to pay towards the levy from 10% to 5%.

But Javid revealed his intention "to broaden the apprenticeship levy into a wider skills levy" when writing in the Financial Times last month.

"This would give employers the flexibility they need to train their workforce, while ensuring they continue to back apprenticeships", he said.

The apprenticeship levy has been under fire since its introduction in April 2017, with several campaign groups claiming the measure is not fit for purpose.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) welcomed Javid's comments and urged him to deliver on his pledge in the autumn.

Sophie Wingfield, head of policy and public affairs at the REC, said:

"Sajid Javid takes over [as chancellor] at a critical time for business and his recognition of the need to reform the apprenticeship levy is especially welcome.

"The levy was implemented with the best of intentions, and could help benefit the progression opportunities for many more workers if it used for broader training.

"Locking-out temporary workers needs to end so that critical industries facing skills shortages, like hospitality and social care, can access the talent they need."

The levy is currently paid by employers with a pay bill over £3 million a year, who receive an allowance to spend on apprenticeship training.

Talk to us about the apprenticeship levy.