An opportunity to develop your workforce 

October 3, 2018

Holly Thompson, director of Future Skills Vision Ltd, reflects on the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy

Following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy back in April 2017, there is still a significant amount of scepticism around whether the system actually works as there is concern over its longevity, as apprenticeship numbers continue to decline with large amounts of unspent levy funds mounting.

At Future Skills Vision (FSV), we want to highlight why apprenticeships are good for business at all levels, from being new to the workforce through to career changers, returners and CEOs – we are all continuously learning, and the levy allows us to fund new learning experiences for anyone in the workforce, regardless of their age.

Business benefits
In recent years, some school and college leavers now recognise that the traditional university route may not provide them with the skills they need to be successful in their chosen career and are looking towards apprenticeships as a way to help them kickstart their future career. This means that the Apprenticeship Levy has the potential to help revolutionise the future workforce, as it gives employers better ownership of the apprenticeship programme.

Since the Apprenticeship Levy is allocated to an online apprenticeship account, businesses can spend the levy funds on qualifying apprenticeship training. This means that employers have an increased ownership and control of the apprenticeship programme, which will boost skills and create training opportunities that suit the diverse needs of their future employees.

This funding can also be used to train and develop their existing employees, enabling them to gain a qualification at a higher level than they already hold. This will then benefit their business as it will produce more motivated and loyal employees, who feel satisfied and valued due to their employer’s investment into their professional development. Statistics from the National Apprenticeship

Service revealed that 92 per cent of companies with apprentices believe that they lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, while 80 per cent have seen a significant increase in employee retention.

Are there any challenges?
One of the main challenges that many organisations face is that they are yet to really benefit from the Apprenticeship Levy, as only half of organisations are aware that funding is available for their employees to learn across all levels of the business.

A good place to start would be to engage leaders and managers with the idea of a management apprenticeship. According to the Institute of Leadership and Management, 58 per cent of HR professionals believe that senior managers are unwilling to be seen as an apprentice, as many believe that apprenticeship training is only relevant for starting a new career. Therefore, this attitude is holding back organisations, as it is preventing them from learning and developing their skills.

There is no age limit when it comes to doing an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a way of learning through on-the-job training, meaning that managers would benefit from a management apprenticeship as they will be given coaching as well as on-the-job training and experience, making them more efficient in their current job role. Gaining qualifications from an apprenticeship will help employees to constantly climb up the career ladder.

Some thoughts from team FSV

Adam Garrard: “Although traditional degrees offer the greatest choice of subjects to study and cities to be based, degree apprenticeships offer debt-free and hands-on paid work experience, alongside gaining a level 6 qualification. In today’s labour market, degree apprenticeships are an ideal way to plug the skills gap and progress in a chosen career.”

Aimee Palin: “Apprentices split their time between university study and the workplace and are employed throughout – gaining a full bachelor’s or master’s degree while earning a wage and getting real on-the-job experience in your chosen job profession. With apprenticeships, you don’t even need to pay or get in debt, as the government and your employer pay all the funds between them meaning you can earn a full degree without spending a penny!”

Jake Solomon: “Many people go to university not knowing what they want to do after university and come out of university with a large amount of debt and very little work experience. A degree apprenticeship offers the opportunity to get a degree without the debt attached to it, but to also get the real-life work experience and to get paid for doing it!”

FSV supports businesses to access a wide range of funding opportunities to support career development of your employees.
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