In January, official figures highlighted a significant drop in the number of new apprentice sign-ups; a year-on-year reduction of some 41,000 new apprentices were registered between August and October.
We know that many employers remain confused about the way apprenticeships are now funded and what they need to do in response. City & Guilds research released less than two months ahead of the introduction of the new apprenticeship levy, which came into force last April, found that a third of employers that are required to pay into this were simply not aware of its existence. This was echoed by the CIPD just a few months ago.
We need to make sure that all employers understand that the apprenticeship system is for them – that it spans multiple industries, encapsulates a wide array of different job roles, and can be used to train staff at every career stage, from entry level through to degree and leadership and management apprenticeships.
We also need to explain the funding process better so employers aren’t turned off by perceived complexity and red tape. Most HR teams in large companies will know that employers with a pay bill of over £3m must now invest 0.5 per cent of that bill into a central apprenticeships fund, which they can then reclaim to fund apprenticeships for their staff. However, they might not necessarily understand exactly how to do this yet.
The levy presents a valuable opportunity for organisations to rethink the way they fund training for employees, at every level of their business.
Apprenticeships have the potential to create a workforce that is fit for the future. We are confident that when we are looking at the numbers this time next year, we will see that the momentum has grown, and employers are taking control of their levy investment.
The Tess Group are travelling throughout the country meeting with employers, helping understand the value of apprenticeship training for their existing workforce. As an award winning learning and development provider, we are solution based, forward thinking and experts at what we do.
For any questions regarding apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy, contact our team here.