Apprenticeship consultant Sasha Morgan Manley

Apprenticeship consultant Sasha Morgan Manley

How degree apprenticeships can help employers fill their skills gap

More than 20 business leaders, training providers and students gathered at Aston University last week to listen to how the new apprenticeship levy can help employers fill the UK’s skills gap.

Apprenticeship consultant Sasha Morgan Manley led the ‘Grow your own graduates’ workshop as part of the ‘Fresh Perspectives’ programme at Aston University on Wednesday 18 January.

Sasha explained the background to the government’s new apprenticeship project, and how from April 2017 any employer with a wage bill of more than £3m a year will have to pay a 0.5% levy.

Companies can then use their ‘levy account’ to help fund approved training or retraining for any employee, regardless of age or career stage, resulting in qualifications from pre-GCSE to degree level.

Sasha said: “Degree apprenticeship programmes are a successful and cost-effective way to increase skills within your organisation across all grades. If you want, you can tailor skills to a standard that gives immediate value back to your business.

“This means the apprenticeship quality levels in the new programme are much higher than before, which is brilliant for employers getting value for money.”

Businesses will have up to two years to spend the money gathered in their levy account, and smaller employers who fall under the levy threshold can also access funding. Those who do not pay the levy will be able to claim between 90% and 100% of the apprenticeship training costs from the government.

There are various ways the apprenticeship funding can work to help train staff in a wide variety of skills, and employers should talk to a provider as soon as possible to make sure they benefit.

Sasha said: “The great thing about the new programme is that it is employer-led, and they can work with partner providers – such as universities – to create bespoke training that suits their needs.

“Aston was the first university in the UK to provide degree apprenticeships, and already has experience of using them to fill skills gaps in businesses and build a talented future workforce.”

Sasha is currently working with Aston University to help develop its degree apprenticeship offering across a number of different Schools. Aston currently offers degree apprenticeships in Chartered Manager and Digital Technology Solutions, and has plans to add more subject areas based on employer needs in the future.

Employers already using Aston University for degree apprenticeships include Capgemini, Virgin Media and computer consultants CGI.

Degree apprentices will graduate from Aston with a full BSc degree, as well as an industry- recognised apprenticeship qualification.

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