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Training: Steps to getting it right for employers



Training is an integral aspect of any successful business or organisation. Without it, employees can’t learn new skills or keep up with the latest industry developments, with negative consequences for employers.

But it’s not enough just to have a learning and development programme in place, it needs to be efficient and effective.


The first important step is for a company to review its existing offer. If it isn’t yet mapped into an apprenticeship standard, then consider the vast amount of benefits involved.

More than 250,000 workplaces across England currently offer apprenticeships, and they’re a proven way of nurturing talent, responding to skills shortages and achieving growth.  Existing employees can complete an apprenticeship too, it doesn’t mean external recruitment is required.


Make sure your training programme is properly structured. Look at each job level within the organisation and develop a bespoke pathway with specific targets in place to meet business needs and certain standards.

This should form a clear outline of what individuals need to do in order to develop and progress to the next level, what is expected of them, the courses available and the qualifications they lead to. It may even result in the creation of new roles.


A key element of a successful learning and development programme is to make it attractive and appealing to employees. Be clear on how will it benefit them, their career path and the place they work in general.

Apprenticeship Levy

A crucially important consideration is that once the Apprenticeship Levy comes into force as of April 2017, businesses with a wage bill of more than £3m will have to pay a levy of 0.5 per cent of their payroll to help fund apprenticeships across the UK.

This means now really is the time to review existing processes and if necessary find out how you can utilise the levy to fund training and improve your learning and development offering.










Training specialist expands management team


L-R Graham Murphy and Nicola Parkinson

Preston-based training provider Jigsaw Training has expanded its senior management team with two new appointments, as its period of growth looks set to continue.

Nicola Parkinson has been appointed as development director, while Graham Murphy joins as the company’s new head of quality.

Nicola, who is based at Jigsaw Training’s Preston headquarters, will be responsible for helping to achieve further growth for the business, working closely with employers, skills bodies and associations to support the sector and prepare for the impact of industry developments and challenges within apprenticeships.

She joins the company from national catering and support services company Compass Group UK and Ireland where she was qualifications and funding manager, and brings over 19 years’ experience in work-based adult education.

Graham, who has 13 years’ experience in the education sector and is also based in Preston, will work to maintain the highest standards of service delivery, helping to streamline internal processes and make sure the company is fully compliant with all the necessary regulations and guidance.

Graham joins Jigsaw from Warrington Collegiate, where he held the position of curriculum manager for sport, leisure and recreation.

James Blackhurst, managing director of Jigsaw Training, said: “This sector is set to experience several periods of uncertainty for example the Apprenticeship Levy, which will come into force in April 2017, but we don’t yet know exactly how it will work in practice.

“Nicola brings the perspective of a large employer with her and knows exactly the kind of support we need to offer clients, while Graham’s extensive experience within education means he has a true insight into the issues affecting the sector.

“Both are extremely passionate about providing support to businesses throughout the training and development process, as well as ensuring we give our learners the best possible experience. By strengthening the team we’re ensuring we’re perfectly equipped to help guide and support employers through times of change.”

Jigsaw Training is a total training solutions company providing the complete package from training needs analysis through to the design, administration, delivery, management and evaluation of all programmes.


Blog: Busting the apprenticeship myths



Although the benefits of apprenticeships are widely known, there are also several misconceptions which may put people off. Here’s the truth behind some of the common myths:

  • ‘You’re better off going to university’

While there is no denying that completing a degree course at university is the right path for some, an apprenticeship can also provide the perfect alternative learning and development opportunity for many. It’s a chance to earn as you learn, without accruing the student debt, and the added bonus is you don’t need any prior qualifications to be accepted onto an apprenticeship course.

  • ‘Apprenticeships don’t lead to employment’

Government statistics suggest otherwise. In fact, after completing an apprenticeship, approximately 90 per cent of people stay in employment, with 71 per cent staying with the same employer. Furthermore, a quarter of former apprentices received a promotion within 12 months, with three quarters taking on more responsibility within their role.

  • ‘Apprentices work for free’

Not the case – the current minimum wage rate for an apprentice aged 16 to 18 is £3.30 per hour, and more depending on the national minimum wage for the age category you fall into, with higher potential earning as you progress. As an apprentice, you’re also entitled to 20 days holiday a year as well as the usual bank holidays.

  • ‘There aren’t many courses to choose from’

 Apprenticeship courses are available in around 1,500 roles across more than 170 industries, from education, media, engineering and healthcare, to leisure, retail, construction and law, a diverse range of options to choose from.

  • ‘Existing employees can’t undertake an apprenticeship’

This is one myth which we can categorically bust, because you can complete an apprenticeship even if you’re already in work. It’s the perfect way to learn new skills, which can also lead to vast benefits for the employer, including a more skilled workforce and opportunity for business growth.

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