After a period of significant change, apprenticeships are beginning to settle. The levy has been in place since 2017, and all new apprentices will be on standards in the 2020/21 academic year.
With the reforms now in full swing, here’s why now is the time to invest in apprenticeships:
Standards meet the needs of industry
Apprenticeship standards put employers entirely in the driving seat for apprenticeship programme development. Standards are created by ‘trailblazer’ groups of employers and industry experts and are fully aligned with actual business needs.
This means learners develop the ‘industry standard’ of knowledge and skills in a specific occupation, as defined by leaders in the sector itself.
Programme quality has never been higher
Apprenticeship standards introduced an End-point Assessment period of up to three months, in which the learner is assessed by an independent assessor. This rigorous independent assessment means programmes are of a very high quality, and ensures learners are fully competent in their role.
Read more about End-point Assessment
Financial incentives for young apprentices
Apprenticeships are a great way of attracting young talent, providing a framework for continuous development through industry-leading skills. Apprenticeships attract young candidates that have made the decision to develop a career in your industry, improving retention rates.
Employers will receive a government bonus of £1,000 per learner aged between 16 and 18 years old. This £1,000 bonus is also extended for apprentices aged up to 24 who have a Local Authority Education, Health and Card plan.
Plus, employers don’t pay National Insurance contributions for apprentices below the age of 25.
Clear return on investment
Large employers with a payroll of more than £3 million will already be investing in apprenticeships by paying the apprenticeship levy. The funds do expire after two years, so it’s clearly important to utilise the levy to achieve a return on this investment.
Lifetime works with employers to align programmes with key business objectives to measure tangible business improvements from apprenticeships. Objectives may include the improvement of retention rates, upskilling of existing employees, or attracting new talent for hard-to-fill vacancies.
Supply chain development
Apprenticeship levy paying companies can transfer up to 25% of their annual levy to another employer to be used for apprenticeship training. This allows employers to develop their supply chain, drive improvements in the wider sector, or realise Corporate Social Responsibility aims.
Transferring apprenticeship levy is a good way of using funds that might otherwise expire.
Full funding for small businesses with young apprentices
Training costs for apprentices aged 16 to 18 will be fully funded for employers with less than 50 employees. These smaller employers will also get full funding training for apprentices aged up to 24 who have a Local Authority Education, Health and Card plan or are care leavers.
In addition to fully funded training, SME’s in these cases will still receive the £1,000 incentive bonus. Usually non-levied employers pay 5% of the training cost through the process of co-investment, with the government covering the remaining 95%.