Business groups have been quick to criticise the government’s Apprenticeship Levy scheme – which applies to all businesses with a payroll of £3m per year – designed to fund three million new roles by 2020, saying it has been rushed and poorly designed.
Only one in two large companies surveyed by recruitment specialist Manpower expect to pay the levy, while 63 per cent of UK employers say they have little or no knowledge of the new system.
A separate survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that less than a third of businesses who expect to pay the levy have calculated how much it will cost them each year.
However, whether you fundamentally agree or disagree with it, the Levy offers the opportunity for talent development in the existing workforce as well as offering a new intake.
Skilling people at Master’s degree level – the top of the apprenticeship scale – provides an opportunity for industries to re-skill their workforce particularly in engineering, manufacturing and construction.
Apprenticeships at this level are aimed at turning generalists into specialists at whatever age they are and the government’s aim is to help re-equip those sectors which simply cannot find the people at entry level. This should in turn lead to smarter working, adapting to automation, big data and internet-related technology.
It is surprising that the issue of age and apprentices still exists and perceptions of an apprenticeship are still linked to those young people who could not get into university or decided what else they should do for the future.
Over the longer term, this should change. Indeed, apprenticeships can provide tangible support to a more vocational start in life for younger entrants – and help to those further along the career ladder.
In the meantime, employers have until May 1st to register from when they will be able to use the funds to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment of new and existing employees. For more information on how Jigsaw Training can help, contact us here.