The chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has thrown his personal weight behind the UK staying in Europe.
At the AGR’s 2016 Development Conference in London yesterday, Stephen Isherwood told Recruiter: “My own [personal] view is that we are better in than out. I can’t see a single benefit for the UK graduate recruitment market for coming out of Europe.”
Isherwood said the greatest potential threat from Brexit was the international mobility of graduates, with question marks around UK students’ ability to work in other countries. “It might affect global organisations and where and how they recruit,” he added.
Isherwood also highlighted the knock-on effect of Brexit if fewer international students came to the UK to study, many of whom currently go on to work in the UK. “This could have a detrimental effect overall on the whole market,” he said.
Isherwood said the AGR had yet to decide its position on Brexit, but was planning to ask its members for their views.
Asked about the employers’ apprenticeship levy that is due to come in April 2017 and has been criticised by employers’ groups as an additional cost on business and a threat to jobs, Isherwood told Recruiter: “It is a good thing because it will improve the interaction between the world of training and education, and employment.
“Employers will become more engaged at a school level. It will increase the focus of careers’ education at a school level, and give young people more choice. I am hoping that we will see a greater engagement of employers in alternative resourcing strategies, and I think the apprentice levy will drive that.”
He added that it might lead to an increase in apprenticeships, as well as the number of degree apprenticeships run through universities.
Only employers with a pay bill of £3m a year will pay the levy, which is calculated at 0.5% of their overall pay bill, with each contributing employer able to reclaim £15k a year from the central fund.
Where those employers who pay the levy don’t spend it on training for their own company’s needs, the estimated 98% of employers who are not expected to pay the levy will be able to draw on the central fund for their apprenticeship training.