I'm sure there have been many conversations in meetings about whether to recruit or upskill existing staff. Budgets and timescales come into question and the debate goes on as both sides have well-rounded arguments. But with a well thought out progression plan for your employees, there is no better place to look than at your in-house talent.
If you’re an SME looking to boost your business, you’ll soon have much more control over how you spend your training budget. As an SME, you don't pay the apprenticeship levy. From January 2020 the apprenticeship service is being made available to SMEs, so you’ll be able to have greater control over who you choose for your apprenticeship training. For the first time, as a non-levy employer, you'll be able to manage your training through a digital portal – the Apprenticeship Service.
Apprenticeships are becoming a popular route into employment for school leavers and more experienced learners alike. PM Training in Staffordshire, are experts in upskilling staff. They provided training for four apprentices at whg, each of the four came to the training with different starting points and experiences, but all quickly progressed to full time permanent positions.
It’s often said that people are the greatest asset in any organisation. Apprenticeships can be a great way to develop new talent and make sure that your business has all the people and skills it needs. In order to take full advantage however, the apprenticeship training programme has to be properly developed and implemented. This is why whg chose to partner with PM Training to set up its own highly successful apprenticeship programme.
Passing the compulsory end-point assessment at the completion of the ‘on-programme’ apprenticeship is not only a great day for the apprentice, it’s also a great day for the training provider and the employer too. Apprenticeships work because, as well as the 20% off-the-job learning, the candidate is spending 80% of their time doing real work in a real workplace. Learning from more experienced colleagues, being able to make mistakes but then get it right the next time, developing an awareness of how the different parts of an organisation are reliant on each other and, of course, understanding the importance of satisfying customers. Staffordshire company, Johnson Tiles, know exactly how powerful the apprenticeship programmes are for their business. Training Manager, Kate Anderson, explained; “At Johnson's, we recruit apprentices to specific job roles. We ensure there is a job there first so that an apprentice can develop into their role and, after the End Point Assessment, join the team permanently.”
For any apprentice, the end-point assessment (EPA) is one of those milestones that will never be forgotten. Passing the EPA is a recognition of the hard work the apprentice has put in, the willingness to listen, watch and learn, and to accept the support of the training company assessor and, most importantly, the employer. End-point assessment is taken at the end of the apprenticeship after what is often referred to as the ‘on-programme period’. It’s a major change from the previous reliance on continuous assessment throughout the course and, arguably, increases the pressure felt by the apprentice. One of the changes is the requirement for the EPA to be assessed by an independent assessment organisation; in other words, not the employer or the training provider. Potentially this may be the first time that the apprentice has met the end-point assessor, so it can feel intimidating; but with the right support and preparation, it can be exciting and satisfying for the apprentice to show the skills they have developed. This is where the active preparation support from the training provider and the employer can make such a difference to the outcome of the EPA. Take Zak Holley for example; Zak didn’t feel that studying for A levels at the sixth form at his school was the right route for him to take. Instead, he signed up for the Officeworks programme with leading provider PM Training.
If your business has a wage bill over £3 million then you’ll have been paying the apprenticeship levy since April 2017. However, there is a growing number of businesses that are not utilising their levy budget. If not used, unspent funds in employer’s levy accounts are lost – meaning employers are losing the opportunity to upskill staff and recruit apprentices – is it an opportunity that you can afford to lose? The uptake of the apprenticeship levy has been slow, and as a result the number of apprenticeship starts. With a 3m starts target set by the Government back in 2015, in April 2019, the national picture was over 548,000 starts below target according to FE Week. New initiatives in April have helped to make the recruitment and use of apprenticeship training easier. The co-investment percentage was reduced from 10% to 5% making it more cost effective to train and develop using apprenticeships.
From April 1, 2019, the maximum amount of apprenticeship levy which you can pass to your supply chain is set to increase from 10% to 25%. But what does that mean for employers? Here's your guide to how the change works, how it will affect your business, and everything you need to know about implementing it.