11 May 2021Research carried out by manufacturers' organisation Make UK has revealed that a record level of Apprenticeship Levy funds expired in 2020 without being spent by businesses. The research revealed that £1,039 million in Levy funds expired in the nine months from May 2020 without being spent by firms. Expired funds cannot be used. Make UK has urged the government to extend the lifetime of the funds from 24 to 36 months for a period of one year in order to help businesses recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 'For many manufacturers, apprenticeships are key to unlocking our recovery and building a strong industrial base in the UK,' said Bhavina Bharkhada, Senior Campaigns and Skills Policy Manager at Make UK. 'But they need more flexibility to do this effectively as they themselves are struggling to recover from the COVID crisis. 'With so many manufacturers looking to recruit an engineering or manufacturing apprentice in the next 12 months, apprenticeships in the UK manufacturing sector can address the yawning skills gap we face, and aid the government in its ambition to level up.'