To address the skills gap, the Government has pledged to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, on the 6 April 2017, aims to support this, with the intention of putting businesses at the heart of training and allowing them to recruit, develop and build future talent from within their organisation. Local organisations have highlighted their uncertainty around the Levy and what it could mean for their business.
In order to support local businesses Invest Newcastle, a service delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative on behalf of Newcastle to attract and secure new investment and jobs for the city, hosted an event in partnership with CBI, aimed at those keen to understand more about what the upcoming apprenticeship reform means for their business, and more specifically, how the reforms could have the potential to revolutionise their future workforce.
Ciara Small, Senior Investment Manager at Invest Newcastle, said: “The Apprenticeship Levy is high on a lot of companies’ agendas at the moment as they try to understand and implement the changes, ensuring they’re making the most of the new rules and regulations. We’re putting on this event to address local organisations’ queries and concerns. I’m delighted to bring together an expert panel of speakers who will offer their insight and advice to companies across Newcastle and the North East in order to help them effectively navigate this change.”
Attendees heard from CBI’s Senior Policy Adviser for Education and Skills, Ed Richardson, an expert business advisor on apprenticeships and the Levy, and Skills Specialist Gareth Preece from the Department for International Trade (DIT) around talent attraction and the true benefits of recruiting apprentices. Senior business leaders from Northumbrian Water and Deloitte shared their experiences of the development of their highly-regarded apprenticeship schemes and the advantages they bring to their organisation.
Sarah Salter, Group HR Director at Northumbrian Water, said: “The Apprenticeship Levy prompts a call to action for leading employers to strengthen their commitment to developing their future workforce, creating optimism and belief in a promising future. At Northumbrian Water we have been working with partners in the Energy and Utility sector to develop a workforce strategy for 2020 and beyond, highlighting around 220,000 opportunities in our sector over the next ten years. Our response to this is to invest in future skills, harnessing the levy as a positive opportunity. It makes good business sense for employers to work alongside educational partners to explore how to make the levy work to meet their needs.”
NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s Chair John Marshall, facilitated a panel discussion with Ivan Jepson, Director of Business Development at Gateshead College, a local apprenticeship provider, and Jeremey Campbell, Head of Corporate Affairs at Manpower, who is an expert in the Levy and an employment advisor to Government.