Employers are becoming more confident in their knowledge of the apprenticeship levy, research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has shown.

According to a survey of 1,141 employers, 51% now say they understand it perfectly - up from 36% in March 2018.

Since it was introduced in April 2017, the apprenticeship levy has come under fire from businesses for its complexity and lack of flexibility.

The Government first announced a series of reforms to apprenticeships in October 2018, including changes to the way larger employers that pay the levy can use their funds.

From April 2018, levy-paying businesses have been able to transfer up to 10% of their training funds to other employers in their supply chain, but this will increase to 25% from April 2019.

While the IoD welcomed this change, the research showed many businesses would still prefer further reforms to the levy.

Of those who were dissatisfied with the apprenticeships scheme, 60% said their firm would benefit more if they were allowed to use levy funds for other forms of training.

Stephen Martin, director-general of the IoD, said:

"Looking ahead, we shouldn't shy away from broadening the scope of the levy. Apprenticeships are an immensely valuable tool, but they aren't a one-size-fits-all solution.

"Opening out the system to encompass other forms of training would be to the benefit of employer and employee alike."

Speak to us about the apprenticeship levy.