For the last ten years Chambers and others have encouraged more and more employers to focus their training needs on taking on apprentices. Training providers have also become more and more customer friendly in working with employers and ensuring that training is delivered in a way that best needs the requirements of employers. Recent apprenticeship reforms have put a check to this progress and now companies are taking on fewer apprentices and some have ceased to do so altogether. This is a serious reversal when the government is promoting improvements in productivity and to do this most companies need to upskill most employees.
Many are confused by the new terminology. The Apprenticeship Levy has been heralded as a new tax an training. Yet this is only applicable for the largest employers and many of them are being creative in the way in which they are ensuring that the levy paid is being used to improve skills in the company. Most companies do not pay an Apprenticeship Levy and now have more choice than ever in who they wish to use as their training partner. Many do not realise that apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. This is a route for upskilling existing workers it is not just for new staff. For smaller employers, the government will pay at least 90% of the training costs and if the potential apprentice is aged between 16 and 18 all employers receive a £1000 government incentive, paid over the time of the apprenticeship.
Colleges and Universities are being highly creative in working with employers in designing new apprenticeship standards to make apprenticeships even more valued and valuable. Many degrees are now available through the apprenticeship route.
The Chamber is keen to encourage all employers to engage with apprenticeships. There are many excellent training providers amongst the membership and is hoped that a number of drop in sessions will be organised shortly to enable those employers who are not familiar with the apprenticeship process “to have a chat”. Look out for them when they are posted on the Chamber web site.