For some, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy has been a blessing and has helped organisations offer development opportunities, where there were skills gaps. For others, the levy has meant a total restructure of their current internal training programmes, often with an attempt to shoehorn in apprenticeships to avoid losing levy funds. This has left some L&D professionals facing crumbling programmes with learners dropping out and success rates looking bleak.
So how do companies avoid losing levy whilst ensuring the programmes are right for their teams?
We have listed 5 sure-fire ways to pick the right programmes first time:
1. Get a second opinion
Your training provider should work closely with you to align the right job roles with the right apprenticeship standards. It is not always a straightforward process and it is useful to ask your training provider to analyse the job specifications and highlight were the standard would support learning. In addition, making contact with the Trailblazer groups will help you understand which roles the qualifications were designed for and where you might see best fit.
2. Hold information days
Starting your roll-out with information sessions is not only a great way to promote the programmes on offer but will also help identify what your teams really want. The information sessions should be relaxed and informal, with plenty of opportunity for learners to ask questions; this will bring to light any issues with content and commitments that may not have been considered. During the session, your training provider should detail all overarching elements of the qualifications and what learners can expect to gain from the programme, should they choose to enrol.
3. Revisit appraisals and reviews
If your company has a section on development within the appraisal process, this data can be collected and used to see patterns in development needs for your teams. Using this information as a base for selecting apprenticeship programmes, is a great way to ensure you will have a good uptake of the programmes being rolled out.
4. Make contact with similar employers
Speaking to someone who has experience in rolling out apprenticeships within their organisation, is a good way to get some insight into successes and pitfalls of programmes. Most L&D professionals are happy to share their knowledge and best practice so make use of their experience to help positively shape your programme launch.
5. Start with a pilot
Rather than rolling-out every programme you have developed straight away, try starting with a smaller pilot of around 10-20 learners. This will allow you to manage the roll-out effectively and iron out any teething issues quickly. By reviewing the pilot programme regularly, you will be able to quickly identify elements that work well and fix those that don’t, with little disruption to operations.
We are exhibiting at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition 2019 on 6th and 7th November, where we will be answering questions on apprenticeships and offering advice and guidance on available programmes. Pop along and see us on stand F36!