In our latest update we take a look at how you can make degree apprenticeships work for you.

1.Use your levy pot to train existing employees

Contrary to popular belief, apprenticeships aren’t just for new recruits at entry level. Older staff looking to upskill and progress are increasingly becoming interested in degree apprenticeships – and this is where the levy can help employers unlock the talent within their existing workforce.

The apprenticeship levy can be used to train existing employees as long as the training meets an approved apprenticeship standard or framework and the proposed employee meets the eligibility criteria for apprentices.

2.Use apprenticeships as a retention tool

An independent Government study found that 56% of employers said that apprentices stayed in the business longer than other recruits, creating lower overall recruitment costs as a result.

The same research also showed employers think apprenticeships build a higher level of commitment and loyalty than other employees. It’s believed that the positive impact apprenticeships have on employee retention results from a combination of the quality of the training provided and the ability apprentices have to learn and grow in the business from within.

3. Use degree apprenticeships to develop staff for higher roles

When the UK Government introduced degree apprenticeships in 2015, it created new routes to obtaining Level 6 and 7 qualifications – the same level as a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. This has enabled employers, for the first time, to be able to provide apprenticeship training at a higher level, progressing staff from junior roles to senior roles while in work.

By giving older staff the opportunity to be developed through degree apprenticeships, employers are able to re-train them for career progression or upskill them to meet the needs of evolving job roles. This is especially important with the need for older staff members to develop digital technology skills This helps employers unlock the hidden talents of their staff to create a higher performing workforce.

4. Use degree apprenticeships to address current and future skills gaps

Higher and degree apprenticeship standards (designed to raise and standardise the skill level and competency of a range of occupations) are helping businesses build a skills pipeline to fulfil future roles. Currently, there are 147 new standards approved for delivery but employers can look forward to as many as 1,600 by 2020.

As degree apprenticeships enable employers to gain valuable skills by developing staff via work-based training programmes, skills can be developed in highly-sought-after areas such as leadership and management and digital technology, and people can apply those skills to their role immediately. Building this pipeline of skills from within is a solid way to future-proof your organisation and ‘win’ the war on talent.

5. Helps to enhance your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes

Having a robust corporate social responsibility strategy not only provides an increased competitive advantage for businesses but is often now a necessity. Degree apprenticeships offer a prime opportunity to strengthen a business’s commitment to this agenda as they are an opportunity to improve social mobility with the potential to break down barriers and increase access to higher education for disadvantaged students, whilst also contributing to local growth and development.

Interesting afternoon spent listening to some excellent speakers at the Westminster Employment Forum Apprenticeship SeriesFunding apprenticeships in England – supporting employers, meeting demand and the future of the apprenticeship levy.

Along with the recent AELP conference and many other events, it is evident that there is a perceived gap between Government Policy on apprenticeship levy and its implementation by training providers and employers. This is not a new phenomenon in that there is a wide history of government skills policy being perceived as out of line with the needs of employers and training providers. It is fair to say that there will always be a gap between the commercial drivers of employers and training providers and the societal needs that government must address in terms of social mobility and upskilling the nation’s workforce.

We have heard about the perceived barriers to the reduction in starts ranging from the failure of employers to understand apprenticeships, the 10% joint contribution, 20% of the job training, lack of standards, lack of EPA organisations and the lack of assessors to undertake the EPA. The response by Government to these issues undoubtedly will not be rapid. Almost everybody in the sector accepts that the levy can only be a positive policy for to enable the increased investment in skills, so why would any provider wish to deliver apprenticeships with all these barriers in place. We are working with many clients who despite these barriers are achieving great things for the apprentice, the employer and themselves. So, what is that they do that has enabled their success? Our observations through working with them would suggest that:

  1. Their mental mindset is that they see the new apprenticeship reforms as an opportunity rather than a barrier.
  2. Their prime focus is on giving the apprentice the best learning opportunity they can give and creating attractive progression routes.
  3. Their business development activities are based on not just being a supplier to the employer but becoming a critical partner in delivering the employer’s business objectives.
  4. They create an apprenticeship programme in close collaboration with the employer ensuring the employers are as supportive to the apprentice as possibly they can

One of the delegates asked the panel at the conference what needs to be done to move the levy from being a transactional policy to transformational policy. We truly believe that many of our clients are acting through the levy in a transformational manner. If you need any support in making your apprenticeship delivery transformational please get in touch with us  at

Although launched in 2015, it is only in the last 18 months or so that degree apprenticeships have begun to gain some traction with employers and students alike. It has long been a complaint of employees that current graduates and/or degree programmes don’t provide the necessary skills that are required in the workplace and that many graduate entrants simply lack basic commercial awareness and soft skills.

In addition since their foundation, the types of degree apprenticeships on offer have evolved away from mainly STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and towards legal, consultancy and risk-analysis courses and this has began to increase their popularity.

So is this a fundamental shift in the higher education model?

Well although the more traditional universities are beginning to understand the changing dynamic away from the academic student learner to the student consumer, and therefore the need to change with the times, there is still a long way to go, especially in how such degree apprenticeship programmes will be structured.

Also the need for universities to meaningfully engage with employers will provide a real challenge for those institutions that havent been used to having to be “commercially facing”, and although a lot of them have developed good links with businesses in recent years there is more that will need to be done, especially in the development of courses with employer involvement.

It is also worth noting that in the UK we have often viewed apprenticeships as something inferior, the poor relation if you will to a university education but there is evidence now that that is changing. Major employers such as JCB, Ernst & Young and IBM are increasing their intake of apprenticeships. The JCB Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship for example has been designed for candidates who are passionate about studying Business Management at degree level whilst working within a highly successful global business and with a view to become a skilled JCB business professional.

If we think about this shift in the relationship between higher education and the workplace is not surprising. The old world of free education, the 11 plus, grammar school or comprehensive, technical college/polytechnic or university, old 5-7 year apprenticeship or Red Brick University degree is now a far cry away from what is required to succeed in a world of tuition fees, artificial intelligence, skills shortages, global competition and greater economic uncertainty.

However, it is exactly the reason that degree apprenticeships should develop and grow as a response to changing and more complex business world

For more information on how we can help in developing your training & development programmes contact the Leadership Team at

Launched in April 2015 to provide students with a university-level qualification and employment experience, while allowing them to share the cost of their education with employers.

They move beyond the old-style “higher apprenticeships” by making a university degree a core part of the apprenticeship experience.

What subjects can you get a Degree Apprenticeship in?

The subjects available are a lot more limited than standard degrees, as they focus on vocational subjects which also require a high level of academia. Perhaps unsurprisingly most of the subjects are science and technology based and include:

  • Chartered Surveying
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Nuclear
  • Electronic Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Software Development
  • Defence Systems Engineering
  • Laboratory Science
  • Power Systems
  • Public Relations
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Construction

How long do they take to complete?

Like a normal degree, a degree apprenticeship will last a minimum of three years, though some will be longer depending on the course. For example, some courses are “sandwich courses” which include a year working as an employee in the middle of the course and so can take 4 years to complete.

What qualifications are needed to embark on a Degree Apprenticeship?

The qualifications you need will vary from course to course. However, students should expect to need GCSEs and/or A Levels (or equivalent) which are related to the subject matter – such as science, IT or maths for example.

What are the costs?

For the student it is free and the cost of studying for this qualification is split between the employer who takes the student on, and the government. A real win for students.

From the employers point of view there is no set cost for a degree apprenticeship, although the maximum amount an employer can use from their levy account is dependent on the Government funding bands for apprenticeships.

With the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017, employers are now able to use this funding to purchase training for apprenticeships. The Government will top up employers digital apprenticeship accounts by 10% meaning that for every £1 that enters the account, employers will have £1.10 to spend on apprenticeship training. Employers who do not pay the levy will have 90% of their apprenticeship training costs subsidised by the Government.

What are the benefits of a Degree Apprenticeship to the student?

Well apart from no cost – a fairly big incentive I’m sure you would agree – degree level apprenticeships allow people to develop their skills and knowledge to a high level whilst gaining on-the-job training. Other benefits for apprentices also include:

  • The potential to achieve a full BA / BSc (Hons) degree whilst in work
  • The opportunity to progress their career within the business
  • Flexible delivery models that support work life balance
  • Support from both their employer and the University

The Leadership Team will be exhibiting at the Talent In Logistics Conference. The conference is designed to help businesses improve training in the logistics and transport industry, whilst also allowing businesses to meet with potential new suppliers.

When is the Talent In Logistics Conference?

It takes place on Thursday 21st June 2018 at Telford International Centre. If you would like to attend click here.

Where can I find The Leadership Team at the Conference?

You can find the Leadership Team at Stand 26.

Here you will be able to find out more about the services we offer, including: Business Growth, Strategic Planning & Direction, Director Level Selection & Recruitment, Top Team Development, Leadership Profiling and Business Development.

Will there be a workshop?

Yes, at the Talent In Logistics Conference, you will have the opportunity to attend a Business Growth Workshop, and meet Chris Gibson our Leadership Specialist.

The Business Growth Workshop will cover areas a variety of areas including, Financial Management, Project Management, Non-Executive Director Support, Legal Support and Marketing Consultancy.

Want to find out more?

For more information on how The Leadership Team can help to grow your business email or call 0845 303 9517.

1. When You Have to Teach Them a New Skill

In many cases this is the most obvious scenario when you have to train your employees because of some to change to processes, products or regulation. In such circumstance there is a twin challenge of training in the new way of doing things, the technical side if you will, but also the need to get buy in from the workforce in a way that they will embrace the change. In addition you may have to train both the internal users (your employees) and external users (vendors, third-party service providers, etc.) which brings another set of challenges to be met.
However, perhaps the biggest area is with new employees (Induction) who have to be trained in the policies, procedures, technologies, and know-how of a company to help perform their duties effectively.

However, companies are known to postpone these training sessions until the time they have several new hires that can be trained in a batch. This means that during the interim period, some new employees start working at their jobs with inadequate knowledge or skills. This is risky for a business. At other times, companies are compelled to arrange for ad hoc one-on-one training sessions, which can be costly and can result in inconsistent messages being delivered.

2. When Employees Lack Basic Skills or, Don’t Know How to Apply Their Knowledge

There are situations when an employee doesn’t know how to operate certain machinery, or carry out routine tasks that is expected of them – in short lacking basic skills. This clearly needs to put right quickly through remedial training and/or performance management. However, it should also be encouraged to find out what led to this situation arising in the first place. For example:

Poor recruitment and selection process
Flawed policies & procedures
Poor support infrastructure

Of course, an employee may have the basic skills and knowledge but lacks application to carry out their roles effectively. This is a more complex problem and may involve a combination of training interventions couple with an effective performance management programme. The question for employers here is, are your managers sufficiently skilled in managing performance?
Investing in ongoing training for employee learning and development is a great way to close these skill gaps that tend to destroy business efficiencies while also boosting employee motivation to advance further in the company.

3. When You Have to Address Skill Gaps within the Existing Workforce

Sometimes employers think that the only option when addressing a skills gap issue is to recruit externally. However, it is often the case that within your organization there are talented employees who can be trained to take on additional responsibilities or learn the required skills of a higher position. This let’s you address a skill gap without searching for the perfect external candidate (who doesn’t exist anyway)to appear and then spend time and effort to make him learn your company culture and policies and procedures which an existing employee already knows.

4. When Your Company Needs to Improve Performance

In an increasingly competitive market place with ever changing market conditions, increased customer demands and new technologies organisation are having to raise performance standards like never before.
This means upskilling your workforce through learning and development programmes that will bridge the skill and/or knowledge gap.
For example, enhancing quality standards or implementing a new customer service approach.

5. When Your Employees Have to Meet New Compliance Regulations

Along with globalization, competition and increasing demands for organisations to operate with transparency and good governance comes more and more regulation.
New legislation or policies demand training for employees so that they can comply with the standards and businesses does not risk falling foul of the law that might bring sanctions and financial penalties.

This is not an exhaustive list and other signs that your workforce may need training & development include:-

Increase in Complaints
High Staff Turnover – recent
Dip in staff morale

Remember, it is the responsibility of the senior teams in organisations to be alert to changes in those factors – external and internal – that can impact on workforce effectiveness and to ensure robust procedures are in place to offer the necessary support and training in a sustainable and ongoing way.

For more information on how we can help in developing your training & development programmes contact the Leadership Team at

According to official figure published in the last two weeks the new apprenticeship levy is yet to increase the number of people being trained, and employers’ groups has said that the government had failed to act on mounting concerns about changes to the apprenticeship system.

However, whilst a lot of the concerns raised are valid it might be worth employers taking a step back to think about how you can get the best out of your apprenticeship programme.

To help you we have put together 5 tips for running a successful apprenticeship programme:

1. Set the tone at the top – the senior team needs to believe in it or else there is small chance of success. Similarly the organisation as a whole needs to buy in and accept that apprentices are an integral and valuable part of the business.

2. Get your recruitment right – It is essential that anyone involved in apprentice selection understands the apprenticeship scheme, knows the type of candidate and the qualities and competencies they are looking for, uses clear job descriptions to make good objective hires.

3. Get a strong training framework – Once you have recruited the apprentice the next important consideration is who and how they will receive the training to support the Apprenticeship. Remember, employers who pay the levy have the power to ensure that they receive the right service from the training provider (private, college or university) that they choose to provide the delivery of the education and learning part of the apprenticeship programme. Strong liaison between the employer and the training provider is absolutely critical.

4. Give apprenticeships opportunity – there is nothing worse for an apprentice to feel that they are just a number, or worse an inconvenience. Like all of us they need to feel valued and encouraged to develop their skills and use their training within the apprenticeship programme

5. Create a strong support system – This is of vital importance both for the organisation and the apprentice. Providing the right practical support and guidance to an apprentice will help ensure they settle in well, develop with your organisation and help contribute to the success of your business. Practical elements of support should include:

  • giving apprentices a clear outline of expectations and a safe supportive environment to learn and develop
  • encouraging them from the start to own and drive their programme targets and to seek regular feedback to self-assess their performance
  • up-skilling and developing line managers so they can coach their apprentice and act as a role model
  • putting a workplace learning mentor in place to further enhance the experience, adding and creating a proactive environment that builds on their eagerness, motivation and commitment.

In summary the above tips are some of the key considerations that employers should take into account when they are looking to develop apprenticeships that will deliver long term value for the business.

For more information contact The Leadership Team today.

The Leadership Team are pleased to announce a partnership with Michael Page Recruitment and Page Outsourcing.

PageGroup will be handling all of our client recruitment activities and we will be their outsourcing partner in Education.

PageGroup is a global leader in Professional services recruitment, specialising in over 25 core disciplines ranging from Marketing and Legal to Human Resource and Sales. Page Group recently launched its fourth global brand, Page Outsourcing which utilises the wide-scale presence and expertise of PageGroup and focuses both on supporting organisations experiencing transformational change, ranging from expansion, re-organisation and M&A’s (projects), and on organisations looking to simplify and streamline their recruitment strategy.

The partnership means that we can assist with business development activities, non-levy and advanced learner loan contracts and with making the most of the opportunities presented by the apprenticeship levy.

Working together with Page Group will mean we have an unprecedented capacity to tackle any recruitment challenge you are faced with, not least the complexities which training providers, colleges and universities face.

David Kitchen, Managing Director of The Leadership Team commented: “We are really pleased to announce our partnership with Michael Page Recruitment and Page Outsourcing. The Leadership Team are now the outsourcing partner for Education with Page Outsourcing College, University and Training Provider clients. Likewise all of The Leadership Team’s recruitment activities will now be handled by the professionals at Michael Page Recruitment. We look forward to a fruitful partnership that will benefit both organisations.”

For more information contact us at and someone will be in touch to discuss your Education recruitment needs with you.