Three Ways to Unlock the Potential of the Apprenticeship Levy

Just a couple of months before the Apprenticeship Levy was due to come into force, ManpowerGroup surveyed 1,000 UK employers to learn how prepared they were for this new legislation. Worryingly, two-thirds of the employers who surveyed said they knew little or nothing about it.

It was particularly surprising that so many large employers were in the dark. Nearly all large companies are required to pay the levy. Yet half of those employing 250 people or more said they knew little or nothing about the changes. In fact, only 17% said they knew a great deal about it.

Fast forward to today, and we can see the effect of this in the apprenticeship market. While the Levy was designed to increase the number of apprenticeships on offer, few organisations hit the ground running and implemented new programmes right away. Indeed, official figures show that there was a large reduction in the number of apprenticeship starts in the final quarter of 2016/2017, following the introduction of the Levy, with those aged 25 and over particularly affected. It’s clear there has been a lukewarm reaction to the Levy in many areas of the economy.

While some may consider the Levy to just be a financial burden, the new standards offer employers of all sizes the opportunity to identify and fill skills gaps, and prepare their workforce for tomorrow’s challenges. Whether you’re paying the Levy or not, you can make the most of the new funding model by looking for opportunities to upskill existing employees by converting them to apprentices, or bring in new talent, to fill existing or forecasted talent shortages. You’ll be able to access funding from your Apprenticeship Fund if you’re a Levy-paying employer, or have 90% of the training costs paid if you’re not.

Make sure that you’re making the most of the Levy by following these four steps:

  1. Audit your training requirements
    The Levy can be used to upskill existing workers, as well as bring in new recruits. In today’s world of work, technology means the skill requirements of businesses is changing fast. Many of your workers will need to adapt and evolve their abilities, if they want to remain employable. You can use the Levy to support this, by converting existing programmes into apprentices, or introducing new apprenticeship opportunities to help your workers upskill and reskill.
  2. Develop a hiring strategy
    With apprenticeships, you can’t judge someone based on their existing skills, experiences and work history, like you might with other roles. After all, you’re looking for someone that you can develop from the ground up – a blank canvas. Building a hiring process that unlocks an individual’s hidden potential will be vital, so make sure you invest your Levy in the types of individuals who will add value to your business in the long-term.
  3. Choose your partners wisely
    With the introduction of the new standards qualifications, all apprentices in England must take a formal assessment at the end of their apprenticeship – known as the End Point Assessment. This must be delivered independently of your training provider, to ensure the overall integrity of the programme. This means it’s not only important to choose a training provider that understands the requirements of your organisation, but you must also choose an End Point Assessment Organisation that can deliver the visibility, quality, scale and geographic reach that your business demands.

We’re proud that the Education and Skills Funding Agency has approved us to be an End Point Assessment Organisation for the delivery of the following Standards: Retailer (Level 2), Retail Team Leader (Level 3), Retail Manager (Level 4), and Supply Chain Warehouse Operative (Level 2).

We have an extensive heritage of assessing and recruiting talent for organisations both large and small. This means we’re ideally placed to deliver apprenticeship End Point Assessments that meet the highest quality and compliance standards. We even have established relationships with governing bodies, a bespoke end-to-end technology solution, and the ability to quickly scale our assessor pool – so we can meet your End Point Assessment requirements quickly and consistently, while providing real-time insight at every point.

Learn more about our capabilities by visiting: manpowergroupsolutions.co.uk/solutions/end-point-assessments