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Business & Economy

Unlock potential and take advantage of the apprenticeship levy

The training company NCG says that many employers are missing out by not taking advantage of the apprenticeship levy.

Just 13 per cent of the Government’s apprenticeship budget was spent last year, meaning that scores of businesses are simply not taking advantage of the scheme.

Whether looking for new skills to grow your service offering or looking for replacements to current managers as they retire, NCG argues that apprenticeships can provide solutions to many challenges businesses face.

They have detailed six ways in which employers can use the apprenticeship levy to their advantage:

1.     1Use the Government’s co-investment rate if you’re not a levy-paying business. Here the Government will pay 95 per cent of the training and assessment costs.

2.     If you employ a 16 to 18-year-old, you will receive a £1,000 grant, and for businesses that employ fewer than 50 staff that take on a 16 to 18-year-old apprentice, the Government will fund 100 per cent of the training costs.

3.     Apprenticeship rules state that 20 per cent of an apprentice’s time should be spent on “off-the-job” training. Don’t let this put you off. This time doesn’t have to be spent off-site in a classroom. In fact it can cover a range of activities such as practical training, theory-based learning and special assignments.

4.     Consider the skills line managers and leaders may need to manage apprentices effectively. Skills such as coaching and mentoring are fundamental to making a successful apprenticeship, but other skills such as developing confidence and resilience in apprentices are important and will mean the difference between your apprentices adding substantial value to your business or being a burden on resources.

5.     You can use apprentices to spot and develop future leaders for your business. This also applies to existing staff, as remember the Apprenticeship Levy funds can be used for training people of all ages. For career starters you can expose them to different functions of your business to give them the broad understanding that leaders need, and for existing staff you can leadership qualifications.

6.     Use apprenticeships as a tool for workforce planning. You’ll need to consider what skills your apprentices will need as they progress – so setting milestones and timelines is important for levy payers.