Invest in your Team to Future-Proof your Firm

In our previous column we discussed the apprenticeship reform that came into effect in May 2017 and the challenges this posed, but also the opportunities that have arisen. Specifically the opportunity to upskill existing staff, which has become a much more attractive offer since the changes to funding came in.

Whilst many employers may be apprehensive about taking on new apprentices during this transition period, they should have no such reservations about putting existing staff on apprenticeships to either use their levy (digital account) or take advantage of the huge reduction in training costs. We have recently worked with some of the Westcountry’s most renowned organisations to do exactly that, enrolling entire teams in some circumstances, on a range of courses, some upskilling to a foundation degree level via our Business Management course.

Presently, if a non-levy paying employer wishes to enrol an existing employee on an apprenticeship they are only required to pay 10 per cent of the full training costs, with the government contributing the remaining 90 per cent. This cost is currently equal to that a SME would have to contribute towards taking on an apprentice aged 16-18, a much better proposition than the anticipated 30 per cent we expected employers to have to contribute under the new reform and a sizeable deduction from the 40 per cent contribution that was in place prior to May 2017.

How does this benefit your business? It means that, for example, you could enrol your employee/s on a two year Level 5 Business Management course for £900 + VAT, providing them with a university level qualification for a fraction of the price and minimal disruption to the day-to-day working environment.

These upskilling apprenticeships are available in all the same sectors as standard apprenticeships and benefit a range of businesses including; Construction, Care & Early Years, Hairdressing & Barbering through to Teaching & Education and Business. They can also be tailored to suit your business needs, so if it is a specific area of expertise with which you need to upskill your employees, or a shorter course you want to enrol them on, we can adapt them to suit you.

At Skills Group we believe in seeking out the positive within change. If you’re a like-minded business, now is a great time to strike whilst the iron is hot to future proof your company by investing in your existing team. We know that further change is imminent and although we cannot predict what the outcome will be, we can be certain that right now, when it comes to funding adult learners, this is as good as it gets.

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School