You may have seen apprenticeships mentioned in the 2021 Budget where Rishi Sunak introduced the concept of flexi-apprenticeships. So how do apprenticeships work and what will this change mean for apprentices and employers?
Apprenticeships – what are they and how can you benefit from them?
When you think of apprenticeships, you probably automatically think of school leavers trying to get qualified in a trade. But that has all changed! In April 2017, the UK Government introduced the Apprenticeships Levy as a way of promoting a new wave of apprentice recruitment. This now includes experienced employees who can gain professional qualifications via the Levy.
How do I pay for apprenticeships?
Did you know that if you have a UK wage bill of under £3 million, you only pay 5% of the cost of the course fees with the Government picking up the balance? So you can access high quality training at a fraction of the price! Better still, there’s a £3,000 grant available when you hire an apprentice.
Can the levy only be accessed when I recruit a new apprentice?
No! The levy can be used for putting existing employees through accredited training as well as new recruits! So whether you wish to upskill your existing employees or recruit new talent, you can take advantage of the apprentice levy! As long as there is a recognised apprenticeships course, you can access it.
Does an apprentice have to be a school leaver?
There is no age limit on apprentices. As long as you pay the appropriate minimum or living wage for the age of your apprentice, you can access the levy.
Will this mean I need to commit a lot of time to training?
20% of all your apprentices time has to be dedicated to learning but this also includes all on the job learning, inductions and so on. We will work with you to ensure that the programme is achievable. This will allow your apprentice to receive great quality training whilst you can also deliver what your business needs.
How will the flexi-apprenticeship programme work?
The newly announced £126 million flexible apprenticeship scheme will allow apprentices to train with several different firms in the same sector. It’s unclear at present how this will happen in practice such as whether the roles are concurrent or whether they can be employed part time via many employers. The scheme is intended to provide 40,000 new traineeships.
Is this an admission that the Apprentice Levy has failed?
No, though a CIPD report was pretty damning in its assessment of the Levy. The number of new apprenticeship starts has fallen every year since 2017. In many cases, the Levy is simply seen as a tax and has gone unspent. We believe that the money should be accessible for routine training as well as formal apprenticeships. If it leads to skills development and productivity gains, then that can only be a good thing.
Need help with training?
We can help you source apprenticeships or other training for your teams. Call us on 0161 647 7990 for more information.