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New report takes flawed self-employed training system to task

IPSE has today released a landmark report – ‘Eight ways to upskill the self-employed’ – which puts forward a range of recommendations to balance a flawed training system which disadvantages the self-employed.



With the rise of automation and AI stimulating a fundamental shift in the world of work, ‘Eight ways to upskill the self-employed’ makes eight wide-ranging recommendations to equip the self-employed with the tools to adapt and thrive in an evolving economy.

The report recommends:

  • Fixing the design faults in the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) Scheme;
  • Introducing Adult Education Vouchers to incentivise lifelong learning among low-income groups;
  • Making apprenticeship levy funding available for employment agencies to subsidise training for the self-employed people they represent;
  • Making training for new skills tax-deductible for the self-employed;
  • Establishing a self-employment hub to improve signposting to trusted online training providers;
  • Ensuring the self-employed benefit from the new Flexible Learning Fund;
  • Introducing enterprise modules in higher and further education courses which produce more self-employed graduates;
  • Urgently reforming the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) levy.

The report guided IPSE’s recent submission to a Government consultation about the taxation of self-funded, work-related training by employed and self-employed people.

Imogen Farhan, IPSE Policy and External Affairs Officer, commented: “The current system for training both unfairly disadvantages the self-employed and flies in the face of the Government’s goal to create a flexible labour market capable of adapting to rapid technological advancement.

“To level the playing field, our report, ‘Eight ways to upskill the self-employed’, provides a bold yet achievable strategy that will enable the self-employed – from all industries and walks of life – to invest in training at every stage of their careers.

“Catering for the breadth of self-employment, the report looks at how to help more vulnerable, low-income self-employed people progress in their careers, how to make training more affordable and how to help the self-employed fit training around unpredictable schedules. It also considers ways of preparing young people for self-employment and ensuring the construction industry has the skilled workforce it needs.

“In June, IPSE was delighted that the Government consulted on how to level the playing field in terms of the taxation of self-funded training. But with 4.8 million people now seeking the benefits of self-employment and the world of work undergoing significant shifts, more needs to be done to start enacting meaningful, positive change.”

For a full copy of the report, click here.