How Can the Apprenticeship Levy Help Your Business Expand?

Here Debbie Gardiner, CEO of Qube Learning, an Ofsted grade 2 Apprenticeship training provider, explains to CEO Today the positive impact of Apprentices on businesses across a range of sectors and age groups.

Apprenticeship Reforms commenced on 1st May, which saw a shift in focus, putting employers firmly in the driving seat! Large employers with an annual payroll over £3m started paying a 0.5% Apprenticeship Levy from April and registered on The Apprenticeship Service (TAS). Smaller employers now make a 10% contribution to the price of the Apprenticeship, whilst the government fund the remaining 90%.  Additionally, there is a £1000 employer incentive for starting an Apprentice aged 16-18. Micro employers also benefit from 100% funding for their 16-18-year-old Apprentices. Our training and skills development services help our customers to recruit, train and develop their workforce through Apprenticeships; by demystifying Apprenticeship Reforms and bringing a bespoke and flexible offer to the table, whilst bringing about business improvements and a Return on Investment (RoI).

Apprenticeships are an all age programme that can be delivered to new entrants to work as well as developing and upskilling existing employees. They are available from level 2 to level 7; level 2 is entry level aimed at those new to work or in job roles without management or additional responsibilities, level 3 is for junior management and experienced employees, level 4 is management, level 5 senior management and levels 6 and 7 are Graduate Apprenticeships. From an employer perspective Apprentices are beneficial in many ways; improved productivity, customer satisfaction, staff and customer loyalty, sales, profitability and reputation. The employers Qube Learning works with that hire young Apprentices report a reduction in staff turnover, improved succession planning, and how being able to train and mentor a young person means they have a competent and motivated member of staff that adds significant value to their business.

Graduate Apprenticeships are relatively new; we anticipate much growth in these Elite Apprenticeships in the coming years. The most effective Graduate Apprenticeship programmes happen when there is a four-way partnership; a Training Provider (Qube), a University (the University of Surrey has partnered with Qube), an employer who wants to use the Graduate Apprenticeship scheme in place of their traditional graduate recruitment/training programmes (or wants to embark on the graduate route for the first time), and finally a Student who prefers the Graduate Apprenticeship route to the traditional University one. This is more so with Graduate Apprentices, who don’t finish with a debt and learn the valuable practical skills throughout.

We work with many credible brands in aiding the implementation of a scheme. Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance (Qube Newcomer of the Year 2016) selected Qube Learning to give the finance business’ employees the opportunity to embark on Apprenticeship programmes. The successful bid by Qube saw 56 employees from the Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance on their way to completing an Apprenticeship by the end of 2017, a number that the company expects to see increase as people begin to see the benefits and understand the Qube way of training. Jason Bell, L&D Partner at Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance, says “the Apprenticeship programme builds self confidence in the induvial as they benefit from learning in the workplace. We’ve seen how beneficial this can be in terms of employee engagement and reducing staff turnover as Apprentices are stretched and challenged. Additionally, customer service levels have improved because of the training undertake as part of the Apprenticeship programme; we see a massive value in Apprenticeships.”

Avery Healthcare Group (Qube Large Employer of the Year 2016) has worked with Qube to develop a 16-18 years Apprenticeship programme which attracts young people to join them and, in many cases, build a career with them.  This is an innovative approach to the recruitment of young people in the health and social care sector and shows Avery Healthcare is leading the way. Avery has clearly demonstrated its ongoing commitment to Apprenticeships and training by supporting over 700 employees with their Apprenticeships.

Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Qube Public Sector Employer of the Year 2016) has been working with Qube since 2009 and recently have been a key part of Qube’s Apprenticeship Funding Reform consultation groups. The Trust has utilised the Apprenticeship programme to improve customer service and administration skills across the hospital. The management team at Milton Keynes Hospital actively promote Apprenticeships through celebrating learning events and encouraging colleagues to develop new skills. The hospital embrace Apprenticeships and see the benefit in staff earning whilst they learn and gaining nationally recognised qualifications; they’re proud of what their Apprentices have achieved and can site increased motivation and career development as tow of the benefits.

Qube Learning itself recruited two young Apprentices in 2015, both achieved their Business Administration Apprenticeship and now have full time permanent jobs with the company. In 2016 Qube recruited three young Apprentices; one in HR and two in the Data team, and they are still on an Apprenticeship programme, adding value and are important members of the team.

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