A Cumbria training specialist has welcomed the shot-in-the-arm for apprenticeships in the Autumn Budget.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the apprenticeship levy paid by small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) would be halved from 10 per cent to five per cent from April next year.

The move was welcomed by PHX Training, which has training centres in Barrow, Carlisle, Cleator Moor and Workington.

Development director, Shirley Williams, said: “This is welcome news for the initiative to develop the key skills across diverse business sectors of young people through apprenticeships.

“The training that goes into these apprenticeships is critical in providing them with the skills and know-how to take themselves forward in the world of work.

“The news will be welcomed by employers across the North West, where we see huge opportunities for growth in apprenticeships to help inject new life into smaller companies over the coming years.”

Professor Andrew Gale, director of industrial strategy at the University of Cumbria, believes the cut needed to happen to address the drop seen in apprenticeship starts in the past year.