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Training specialist launches Apprenticeship Levy advice service



Training provider Jigsaw Training has launched a new advice service to help businesses understand and prepare for the Apprenticeship Levy.

From April 2017, businesses whose annual wage bills exceed £3m per year will pay into the new Apprenticeship Levy at a rate of 0.5 per cent.

To ensure businesses affected by the levy are ready, Jigsaw Training has launched a consultancy service, providing advice on apprenticeship programmes and the impact of the levy on the organisation.

James Blackhurst, managing director of Jigsaw Training, said: “While there’s still a number of details about the apprenticeship levy to be announced, there is enough information about the reforms available and now is the time to take action and plan.

“Businesses need to be ready for the levy coming into place next April and using our wealth of expertise in the adult learning and skills sector we can help them develop the right strategy, review what is already in place and help with the next steps.”

Following the initial consultation – being offered at no cost – next steps include development of a project plan; ensuring current learning and development programmes fit into apprenticeship frameworks; and creating a campaign to attract apprentices.

Jigsaw Training specialises in apprenticeships, providing the complete package from training needs analysis through to the design, administration, delivery, management and evaluation of all programmes.

It delivers apprenticeships in sectors including facilities management, catering, security and retail.

Blog: Levy will reach out to communities



While some employers across the country have felt frustrated about unanswered questions regarding the new Apprenticeship Levy, the one guarantee is that the reforms which aim to support three million apprenticeships by 2020 will take effect next year.

From April 1, 2017, firms with an annual wage bill of more than £3million a year will pay 0.5% of their payroll to fund apprenticeships.

In its latest announcement, the government has outlined in more detail how the funding aspect of the new levy will work, as well as displaying a commitment towards supporting people from deprived areas – something which can only be welcomed by everyone affected by the initiative.

The government has revealed:

  • An adapted support system will be created to enable everyone to benefit from an apprenticeship, regardless of their location or background.
  • A payment of £1,000 will be made to employers when they take on 16 – 18 year olds, or 19 -24 year olds who have been in care or have an education and health care plan.
  • Employers will be given more time to spend the money within their digital account, with a 24-month limit instead of the proposed 18 months.
  • There will be an increase in funding for STEM apprenticeship frameworks – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – to support and inspire more people to pursue careers in those subjects.

The update spells good news for employers, easing the pressure on the timeframe in which to spend funds, and learners, who will benefit from a fairer system and new doors being opened for people regardless of factors which may have previously held them back.

However, with more detail now received and less than six months to go until the reforms take effect, it’s imperative businesses ensure they’re ready come April 1.

For advice on how to prepare for the Apprenticeship Levy, contact Jigsaw Training on 01772 430004 or

Top interview tips for apprentices



An interview for an apprenticeship can naturally be a daunting prospect, after all the outcome could determine your future career. However, if you’re fully prepared you’ll give yourself the best chance of securing that coveted role. Here’s our top tips on how to prepare for and conduct yourself at an interview.

Do your homework

Research the company you’ve applied to work for and make sure you’re familiar with the job role. Have a look at the website, find out the type of work it does and the number of people it employs. It shows you’re interested in what could potentially be your new employer, and that you’re organised, enthusiastic and willing to learn. Additionally, you may be asked a question by your interviewer about the company or the role, and if you don’t know the answer it could throw you off track.


If you’re not used to it, practice speaking out loud and ask a friend or family member to play the role of the interviewer. It will help build your confidence ahead of speaking to what could potentially be several people at the interview. It’s also useful to consider the questions you might be asked and think about the answers. You don’t want to sound too rehearsed, but it’s important you’ve given it some thought and that you’re comfortable.

Be on time

Plan your transport and route beforehand, and if it’s somewhere you’ve never been before it’s a good idea to do a practice run in advance. On the day of the interview, set off in plenty of time but if you are delayed for a reason out of your control, such as a traffic accident, make sure you have the contact details of the person you’re meeting with so you can let them know what time you’ll be there. All employers value punctuality.

Dress to impress

Make sure you’re suitably smart. Plan what you’re going to wear so you won’t have to spend valuable time before your interview rushing to get ready, time that should be spent feeling relaxed but focused. First impressions count, and turning up to an interview looking presentable will help you score top marks.

Be organised

Check you have everything you might need, such as hard copies of your CV, references or any examples of previous work you’ve mentioned in your application. It will show you’re prepared and organised.  Another good tip is to prepare some questions of your own; even if they get answered throughout the course of the interview, showing that you’ve considered them in advance will leave a favourable impression.


Even if you aren’t successful, ask for feedback to help you next time if necessary. It may be the role wasn’t quite the right fit, something you said or a gap in skills.

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