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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

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.

One universal issue every business faces, regardless of the industry is, should you hire ready-made talent or should you work to develop your own talent?

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.

Those employees that you can identify as “trainable talent” often possess three key qualities that is worth investing in:

  • Experience
  • Work Ethic
  • Cultural Fit

The advantages of developing your talent pool can help both the business and the individual. For example, the business can benefit from:

  • you choosing what new skills your workforce gains, targeting skills to meet the needs of your operation for now and in the future.
  • better customer service, better work safety practices and productivity improvements.
  • your demonstration to your workforce that you value them enough to invest in them, improving loyalty and staff retention. In turn, retention is a saving to you.

For the workforce there are myriad benefits including:-

  • they acquire new skills, increasing their contribution to the business and building their self-esteem
  • the training they do can take them into other positions within the organisation – positions with better prospects and/or better pay
  • they’re upskilled to do new and different tasks, which keeps them motivated and fresh
  • because they’re being trained on your time, they see that you value them enough to invest in them. A good company is seen as one that retrains rather than churns.

And the real bonus to your business? The Apprenticeship Levy can help you.