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Jigsaw Training news & blog

Blog: A welcome boost for SMEs


During this year’s spring statement, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced that the government would be releasing £80million from the existing Department for Education (DfE) apprenticeship budget for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

The government kick-started its apprenticeship plans by setting itself an ambitions target and committing to increasing the uptake of apprenticeships to three million by 2020.

The new funding announcement has been a long time coming for SMEs and should be welcomed by companies who haven’t previously had access to any funding.

Here are five reasons to welcome this initiative:

  1. The Apprenticeship Levy previously eliminated SMEs from access to direct funding as it was set up only for large employers with a pay bill of over £3million. There has since been an introduction for Levy paying organisations to transfer their funds over to other companies. This encouraged companies to share Levy funding between subsidiaries or companies that are part of a group, meaning the focus was still aimed at large organisations. The introduction of this new £80million funding for SMEs will mean that support is now available to build a stronger workforce throughout all businesses at any size.
  2. Funding will mean SMEs have the ability to increase productivity by employing new members of staff within their workforce and have more scope to invest in their future employees for the long term.
  3. Smaller organisations will be able to tailor their training needs to enhance their businesses and ensure training is specific to their needs.
  4. SMEs struggling to find people with the right skills set can now take on employees with potential to succeed because they have the funding and support available to educate them to a high level.
  5. Apprenticeship funding can be spent on employees at all ages which means companies can bring in new starters whilst developing existing staff. This is an opportunity to upskill staff at all levels and is not just for school leavers.

For further information about available apprenticeship funding contact us on or call us on 01772 430004.

Blog: Quality of training is key


A decrease in the number of apprenticeships being offered in 2017 leaves the government under great scrutiny over the Apprenticeship Levy

A survey carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has shown that businesses are concerned about the Apprenticeship Levy for a number of reasons including pay bill commitments and the quality of training the Levy providers can give off-site.

Although the number of apprenticeships being offered has fallen since the Levy was introduced in April 2017, figures provided by the CBI/ Pertemps employment trends survey in 2017 predict that the number of apprenticeships is set to rise.

One indicator shows that almost half of participants – 46 per cent – to the survey plan to recruit more apprentices in the next 12 months. Another result showed only four per cent will cut back on the number of apprentices they employ.

It will be hard to measure if the statistics will rise due to the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy or from a natural increase in discussions and awareness in apprenticeships anyway.

Whether you are for or against it, the Levy offers opportunities for all levels of the workforce at any stage of learning. Getting behind it will increase the number of skilled people back into the workforce and inevitably increase employment.

At Jigsaw Training, we believe the Levy should help young people, while also providing opportunities for older apprentices at any level of knowledge or age.

Delivering training to the highest standard is an important priority here whether as part of the Levy process or not.

Connecting with learners


The world is changing around us. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that what we experience as consumers we also want as learners.

This means your organisation’s learning and development efforts needs to keep pace with change, including what we learn and how we learn it.

The world has become much more personal and relevant to each individual. Think about keeping training tailored not just to teams and levels of learners but also treat everyone as individuals with their own needs. One size doesn’t fit all.

Think about keeping training sessions shorter rather than longer. Short bites can work, especially if you think how we communicate these days in texts, email, on Twitter and Facebook for example.

Sometime making a point in short enables the person to receive and retain it rather than a long-winded tour of the subject. It also depends on the level of training and some leadership courses for example will need to be more in-depth than others.

Use technology such as videos or the internet to help visualise learnings. The visual impact of these channels will help learners remember some of the detail later. Indeed, blended learning combining different formats online and offline can work effectively where the personal training helps reinforce the technical information.

Enable the learner to also find information for themselves where relevant and this way they can tailor content and gain good grades.

The pace of change around is rapid, but we must reflect this to ensure we stay relevant for the learners, who are also consumers.


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