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Growing your own talent with the apprenticeship levy

Following on from our previous post, here we discuss how the UK’s apprenticeship levy can benefit business owners.

Most large businesses are already making great use of the levy, developing internal skills which are integral to the workplace. In some instances, these skills are closely linked to the operations of the business; administration and customer service, for example. But for those looking to fill a more niche expertise, the training covers more than 1,500 job roles across more than 170 industries, so its scope is certainly not limited.

Apprenticeships have also been proven to boost social mobility and diversity within the workplace, enabling students from disadvantaged backgrounds the potential to progress through an alternative route of learning.

As a genuine job accompanied by a skills and assessment development programme, apprenticeships are essential to the encouragement of internal development. By combining work with part-time studying, employees can achieve a reputable qualification that will enhance the quality of the workforce as well as the output they provide. And with the rise of degree apprentices, the employer’s power to minimise any skills gaps is greater than ever.

Of course, it’s natural that apprenticeship schemes will contribute to a reduction in recruitment costs and staff turnover.

What’s more, employers who have implemented an apprenticeship programme have reported an increase in workplace productivity of up to 76%.

Seen as a route of encouragement with much to be gained by the employer, the apprenticeship levy continues to bolster the employment landscape, and create opportunities for business and employees alike.

Internal development opportunities

If staff wish to develop their skill sets or progress their career, often the only route is to change employer. However, should an employee wish to move internally towards a more senior role, or even, a completely different department, the levy empowers businesses to support this.   

The learning and training can be delivered on-site at an employer’s premises, seeing the apprentice work closely with a mentor, or off-site by a training provider. The training provider can also deliver the training within the workplace though day or block release at another premise away from the workplace, for example, college.

With such an abundance of skills available through apprentices, ranging from essential office functions such as IT support, customer service, payroll, HR and more, it is a route many are considering in order to grow their own talent while saving on costly recruitment fees. The skills acquired from an apprenticeship can go on to bolster internal skills and development which is then reinvested into the business, contributing to greater employee retention.

Employers have the power to select their own training provider from a list of registered and approved trainers. The list gives you insight into their availability, with details on how other employers have rated them.

A different route

Apprenticeships are no longer associated with school leavers, they can be used by anyone and the business benefits are countless.

The apprenticeship levy can be used to support those who wish to pursue a different career path. Following lifestyle changes, new family commitments, or simply a desire to change direction, the apprenticeship levy can be utilised to enhance the employee’s prospects within a business.

Lisa Root, Apprenticeship Development Team Leader at Luton Borough Council, reflects on how the levy has opened doors to a wider audience: “Even those with degrees in alternate specialisms can use the levy to pursue a new career path.”

These opportunities are exciting. Lisa reports seeing a nurse move through the programme to pursue a career in office administration: “Because of the levy, she had the chance to step away from shift work in order to spend more time with her young family.”

Adult learning

The UK is facing a skills crisis in 2018. Industry specific skills covering broader business skills, for example, compliant-specific and cybersecurity roles are on the rise following the commencement of GDPR: roles that are essential for HR, technology and digital divisions. Typically, these roles could be filled internally via a development and learning programme, which is why the timing of the apprenticeship levy is pertinent to this skills gap.

The levy can help businesses to thrive. When tailored correctly, with a suitable training body, the potential for a business to succeed, enhance its internal skills and address any skill shortages within their business, It contributes to a more skilled and qualified workforce, as apprentices can be for new or existing employees.

Apprenticeships are often underestimated for their ability to bolster the workforce’s skill set and employment opportunities. For the individuals themselves, it can be a vital mechanism in shaping their career development and their relationship with their employers.

Luton ACL enables businesses to work with accredited training providers, selected based on their availability and reviews. You can get in touch with them either directly or through the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

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