Apprenticeship Reforms – a real Opportunity for Businesses to invest

In April and May 2017, the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing.

  • The Apprenticeship Levy will be introduced on 6 April 2017, requiring all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to invest in an apprenticeship fund.
  • And from 1 May, there will changes to the funding for new apprenticeships for all employers, including substantial ‘co-investment’ by the Government, of up to 90% on approved apprenticeship training schemes.

Feedback towards our planned Apprenticeship event in February suggests a degree of indifference, scepticism or cynicism by businesses – levy payers tending to think of it as yet another tax, many smaller businesses thinking it’s not relevant to them.

But Jackie Campbell, Skills Development Manager at BTVLEP and Chiltern Chamber Committee member, thinks this is a mistake. She comments:

The apprenticeship funding reforms present a real opportunity for business to invest in its workforce and future growth.

If you are a levy payer, after the 1st of May 2017, you will have training funds in place ready to spend on apprenticeship programmes for new recruits or to develop existing staff. Even better, once the pot is spent, the Government will fund 90% of any additional apprenticeship training you would like to engage with (100% for 16-18 year olds).

If you are not a levy payer, the Government will also fund 90% of your training costs for approved apprenticeship programmes (100% for 16-18 year olds). It is vital that employers invest in the skills development of their staff and new recruits in the interests of improving overall competency and productivity, and work to close widening skills gaps.

The new apprenticeship levy puts business in control. As part of the Government’s drive to ensure apprenticeships are high-quality and to deliver the skills our economy needs, the old apprenticeship frameworks are being replaced by new up-to-date employer designed standards. The standards are essentially job roles, detailing the skills employers need their employees to have competency in, rather than the qualification focussed frameworks.

For Bucks, where 50% of our young people go to university, the new degree apprenticeships are particularly exciting. A Degree Apprenticeship is a new education route, which brings together the best of higher and vocational training. This new option enables university study and the invaluable on-the-job training typical of an Apprenticeship, without having to cover the cost of tuition. Bucks New University begins its undergraduate and degree apprenticeship programmes from September 2017, and by 2022 expect apprenticeships to represent approximately 50% of its provision.”

Sector focussed #TalentTuesday events in March

Bucks Business First is holding three events in March, seeing to bring together businesses with young people looking for an opportunity to become an apprentice, trainee or simply looking to get some work experience:

7th March   Creative Industries – NFTS in Beaconsfield

14th March   General – manufacturing, health, social care, business admin, finance, armed forces – at Metro Bank in Aylesbury

21st March   Digital and Engineering – Bucks New Uni, High Wycombe

Events format:

Part One – Speakers: This will give young people the chance to hear from an employer who has taken on an apprentice, an apprentice talking about their career decision and experiences, and some advice and top tips from an apprenticeship provider.

Part Two – Speed Introductions: This will be your chance to have ‘one to one’ meetings with potential candidates for your role(s) with a view to organising a full interview at your workplace in the future. Bookings will be made on the evening and in advance. It would be useful if overviews of roles and training can be provided in advance, so young people can read up about your business ahead of the event.

For more information…

…on these events, contact the Buckinghamshire Business First events team, on events@bbf.uk.com, or call 01494 568937

On apprenticeships in general, Jackie Campbell (jackie@btvlep.co.uk) will be very glad to advise.

Key Facts about Apprenticeships (from .gov.uk website)