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Jigsaw Training news & blog

Apprenticeships: let’s be bold


The initiative by the government to put apprenticeships well and truly on the map seems to have been well timed whether by design or not.

The new Apprenticeship Levy – introduced in April – must be paid by employers in England with a payroll of more than £3m and is charged at a rate of 0.5% of their annual wage bill.

Many employers have been quick to criticise the scheme as another burden coming on the back of minimum wage increases and auto-enrolment pension schemes.

But with skills gaps now affecting many sectors, and with Brexit bringing the prospect of tighter immigration controls, we need to address the skills shortages through whatever means whichever way this is achieved.

Indeed, the apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon says the government is giving employers more power to design schemes to meet their own specific needs.

Alongside the levy, the new Institute for Apprenticeships is to act as a watchdog that approves apprenticeship standards and assessments as the new drive aims to create three million new apprenticeships by the year 2020.

The options for young people to take another route other than university – and the costs that go with it – are at least opening with a diverse menu of apprenticeship types and levels. The new initiative can also help those already in employment with new opportunities.

We at Jigsaw Training fully support the efforts to increase the options for skilling and training young people – as well as older people – and we seek to ensure the quality of training is upheld at the same time as making it available to increasing numbers.

Getting this phase of the push on apprenticeships right is crucial and it relies on the employers taking action now to register and providers being prepared as we all enter this brave new era.


Blog: Under-fire Levy offers another way


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.


Jigsaw Training appointed by ABM UK as levy partner


Facilities management business ABM UK and its sister company OmniServ have today announced a partnership with Jigsaw Training as its total solution provider for their Apprenticeship Levy programme.

Specialist provider Jigsaw Training will work with the businesses to deliver training in areas including facilities management, leadership and management.

The three-year contract will involve between 200 and 250 apprentices, including new recruits and existing employees in new roles.

The apprentices will work towards intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeship over a 12-24 month period.

Jigsaw Training will train the apprentices and guide them through their qualifications, they will also provide the ongoing assessment of knowledge and competence gained against the national occupational and awarding organisation standards and finally contract with an independent end point assessment organisation for the final assessment with each apprentice.

The Apprenticeship Levy will be introduced next month and employers with a UK pay bill of over £3m from both the private and public sectors will be required to pay 0.5% of that into a levy. Those employers can then access that levy through a digital account to use for the development of apprentices.

Andy Donnell, group managing director of ABM UK, said: “We see the Apprenticeship Levy as a great opportunity to develop our people, and we believe that Jigsaw Training can help us achieve this. Implementing a new scheme will of course take investment from a financial and resource perspective; but with training already such a big part of ABM UK’s company culture, the demands of the Apprenticeship Levy feel like a natural extension to what we’re already providing for our staff.

“Jigsaw Training left us in no doubt that it has the necessary experience and resources to offer our staff the very best training, and we very much look forward to working closely with them over the coming years.”

James Blackhurst, managing director of Jigsaw Training, said: “It is great to see the commitment from ABM UK to their apprentices and we’re excited to be working with them.

“The Apprenticeship Levy is just around the corner and as a large employer ABM UK is dedicated to helping their apprentices realise their potential.”

ABM UK provides facility service solutions across 1,500 locations in the UK, including shopping centres, commercial buildings and airports. OmniServ provides services, including security, portering and baggage handling, at 15 UK airports.

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.

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