Interesting afternoon spent listening to some excellent speakers at the Westminster Employment Forum Apprenticeship Series– Funding 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:
- Their mental mindset is that they see the new apprenticeship reforms as an opportunity rather than a barrier.
- Their prime focus is on giving the apprentice the best learning opportunity they can give and creating attractive progression routes.
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.