Posts

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 grow@leadershipteam.info.

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

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.

 apprenticeship levy mythbuster infographic

In our last blog update we explored the following area of concern: what happens if the levy pot is overspent?

To support that, we have produced this handy info-graphic so that you can clearly see some examples of how much the Apprenticeship Levy costs different businesses.

apprenticeship levy infographic

It is fair to say that there is still a lot of confusion among employers about the mechanics of the Apprenticeship Levy. One area of concern, and particularly relevant to smaller levy paying employers, is what happens if the levy pot is overspent?

For example, those who are only paying a marginal levy might not have enough funds in their ASA account to cover the cost of training and assessment for all the apprentices they want to take on.

Just to remind you: only companies with a payroll of over £3 million will pay in to the levy, so for example if your annual payroll is £5,000,000 then you will pay 0.5% of anything over £3,000,000 – £10,000 – into the levy pot.

So what’s happens if you don’t have enough in your levy pot, as your training requirements are far in excess of the £10,000 in the above example?

Well the answer is co-investment – and this occurs when a levy payer simply runs out of money in their digital account (the pot).

The employer will then be able to use the model that applies to non-levy payers, meaning the employer will have to pay 10% of the remaining training costs to the training provider while the government will then pay the remaining 90%.

Below are some examples of how much the levy costs for differing size businesses:

Employer A: 1,000 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000

Annual pay bill: 1,000 x £20,000 = £20,000,000
Levy applied: 0.5% x £20,000,000 = £100,000
After allowance* (Employers get a £15,000 fixed annual allowance to offset against the Levy payment) applied: £100,000-£15,000 means £85,000 Levy payment

Employer B: 500 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000

Annual pay bill: 500 x £20,000 = £10,000,000
Levy applied: 0.5% x £10,000,000 = £50,000
After allowance applied: £50,000 – £15,000 means £35,000 Levy payment

Employer C: 100 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000

Annual pay bill: 100 x £20,000 = £2,000,000
Levy applied: 0.5% x £2,000,000 = £10,000
After allowance applied: £10,000 – £15,000 means £0 Levy payment

Dear CEO,

A recent PWC article stated that there are four concerns that keep CEOs awake at night. They cited the concerns as, how to deal with globalisation and uncertainty; a lack of trust in their business or brand, the need to rethink the leadership model, and, tackling the talent challenge.

It is this final point I would like to draw your attention to as we all know that the competition for talent is getting fiercer and that skill shortages are a real hindrance to business growth.

You have a choice to either hire in new talent or look to develop your existing workforce. Of course, you may need to hire a specialist with skills and qualifications that you don’t have inhouse but very often our own staff have skills and expertise that is overlooked or, more importantly they have the potential to develop if given the appropriate training and development.

That training and development can be supported and enhanced by taking advantage of the Apprenticeship Levy. However, of the estimated 22,000 businesses that pay the levy, only half (50%) have actually set up the framework (nominal digital account). It could be that the information about the Levy is sitting in the intray of the FD or HRD but the clock is ticking.

Has your organisation set up it’s digital account? If not, perhaps take a look at our blog post on “What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

Few employers understand the huge range of training this could offer nor the financial benefits of taking advantage of the Levy.It is clear that there have been issues getting the message out there to employers about the new apprenticeships and the opportunities to develop the whole of the workforce. Hopefully this letter will help you in making the right decisions around your workforce development.

Wishing you a successful remainder of 2018.

Yours,

The Leadership Team

The Apprenticeship Levy can come across as confusing and a little daunting if you don’t fully understand the details surrounding it. To help you gain a better understanding, we have put together an Apprenticeship Levy Myth-buster.

All businesses must pay the apprenticeship levy.

No, only employers that pay more than £3m in wages are liable to pay the apprenticeship levy. Levy-paying employers contribute 0.5pc of their payroll into a fund each month, which can be re-invested in apprenticeship training for their business. And for every £1 contributed, the government adds 10p. And also, if you’re an employer with an annual pay bill under £3m then you don’t pay the levy – but the government will still fund 90pc towards the cost of your apprenticeship training.

Aren’t Apprenticeships for 16 -24 year olds? I don’t want young workers, I need experience.

Not at all, anyone can start an apprenticeship at any point in their life, whatever their age, background or career level. With levy funds, employers can train and upskill their existing workforce as well as hiring new recruits. Also you can use the levy funds to train existing employees who hold prior qualifications so long as the apprenticeship they are taking is relevant to their role and the most appropriate way of progressing or developing their career.

Apprenticeships are no use to my organisation as we do not employ manual workers – we are a tech company.

This might once have been the case, however, apprenticeships are now available in over 1,500 occupations across 170 industries, ranging from nuclear, banking to cyber security.

I have to spend all my apprentice levy funds myself.

No not necessarily. You can transfer up to 10% to your supply chain.

As an employer it seems to me that the Levy will mean I have less control my training requirements.

The levy makes it easier for employers to choose apprenticeship training that best suits their needs. Funding follows employer choice and this is different from previous models and forces training providers to become more responsive to employer needs. Employers’ levy contributions are paid into an apprenticeship service account which allows them to choose and pay for apprenticeship training more easily. If an employer is in a group of companies paying the levy together, the group can collect their funds into a single account.

To find out more about the Apprenticeship Levy, click here.