Apprenticeship Levy

Why are so many businesses unaware of the apprenticeship levy?

Why it’s time for you to utilise the apprenticeship levy to its full potential.

In the 2015 summer budget, the government set out plans to train three million new apprentices by 2020, and to help meet their targets they introduced the concept of the apprenticeship levy. The apprenticeship levy is now set to come into force in May 2017 and will require large employers to make a significant investment in apprenticeships.

The main purpose of the levy is to increase the quantity and quality of apprenticeships and encourage large employers to use apprenticeships as the key training method for the future.

It will not only help deliver new apprenticeships but aims to improve them by putting employers at the centre of the system. Employers committed to the training should be able to get back more than they put in by training a sufficient number of apprentices.

But despite these major changes arriving in just a month, a number of businesses are still completely unaware of the levy.

According to research carried out by City & Guilds, around a third of businesses in England are unaware or confused about the apprenticeship levy.  500 business leaders took part in the research which found that nearly a quarter surveyed were unaware of the changes to the system and 28% did not know if they were required to contribute towards the levy. The levy is big business and is expected to raise up to £3 billion a year by 2019-20, with the government estimating that £2.5 billion of this will be spent in England alone.

So it really is time for businesses to be thinking seriously about the levy and how it can help them with their training needs. Our forward thinking teams here at KF training are ready to help. We have already helped a number of businesses from across the UK get on the right track regarding the apprenticeship levy.

We have their training plans set up and in place ready to go as soon as the levy kicks in, but don’t worry, you still have time to get your plans in place to utilise every payment you make into the levy.

Immersing themselves in your business, our teams at KF Training bring a dynamic and pioneering approach to training, not only helping with levy set up but creating bespoke plans that will benefit the key areas of your business.

It’s important to realise that apprenticeship training can help your business achieve key goals, whether it is increased sales, better leadership, improved processes and efficiency or reduced costs.

We look at your businesses challenges, aims and aspirations to produce a diagnostic report that are unique to your business, this way we can work together to really deliver positive business impact. And with our delegate diagnostic report we can steer your business improvements in the right direction, making us all ensure that your new apprentices and programmes are delivering the positive business impact you need.

Also when thinking about apprenticeships, people automatically think it involves bringing in a young person externally, but as important as it is to invest time and money into the next generation for the future of your business, apprenticeship levy payments can also be used to fund training for your current workforce.

Age and past experience is not necessarily a factor within this and given the way career directions change, some re-skilling and/ or up-skilling is likely to occur where training and development is required.

So this will include graduates eligible for level six or seven apprenticeship programmes and any further existing employee development as long as training meets apprenticeship criteria.

The levy also gives you the opportunity to take a fresh look at your current training plans. With new training techniques been added all the time it’s important to keep up to date and find the best ways for your workforce to interact and learn.
Currently 63% of UK learning and development leaders are using e-learning.

At KF Training we have a dedicated e-learning team which can create unique engaging training content to help your workforce study using digital skills. This includes games, scenarios, quizzes and video content which helps saves time and money and gives a richer delegate experience, helping cover your requirements and maintain productivity.

But you must remember the levy is a long term payment that needs to be continually managed going forward, as your business needs change so does your training. Our specialist project teams are not only here to get you through the first few months of the levy but also to help build your training programmes in the long term.

Once we have helped you select and set up your skills programmes delivery we will continue to work alongside you to adapt and tailor your output to your business needs and make sure you are making a successful return on your investment.

And our innovative pick and mix business model also allows you to add a host of additional training modules as and when you need it, adding value and giving you more value for money. Our pick and mix course areas include business skills, leadership and management, health and safety, innovation and continuous improvement.

We know that all these changes may seem daunting for your business but at KF Training we see the levy as a huge opportunity for businesses.

Working as a part of your business as your chosen skills partner from an early stage, we can make sure that every penny you pay in to the levy is not wasted. We have invested our time to create a team that we are proud of here at KF Training, who are all ready to help take your business to the next level.

To speak to our teams here at KF Training to find out more about opportunities for your business and the apprenticeship levy, please contact us on 0191 518 6830 or visit www.kftraining.co.uk

Bespoke solitions

KF Training has made a real difference to the working culture at one satisfied nationwide customer, demonstrating the value that upskilling a workforce can have.

One KF Training client is Bradbury Group, the UK’s largest manufacturer of steel doors, security grilles and cages. The 25-year-old Scunthorpe based company, which also has a production site in Ayr, in Scotland, has 190 employees. It supplies sole traders and major multinationals and it has sold its products as far afield as Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea. The business, which will be a levy payer from April 2017, engaged KF Training in 2016 to come up with training solutions to challenge and support a cultural shift in the company.

Operations director Patsy Payling explains: “In the past we trained our people on how to do their job but we never developed that to improve the company. We had some retention issues and we wanted to improve engagement. We surveyed the staff and found they wanted more of a say and input into the business but to do that they needed to know how.’’

KF Training came up with a bespoke whole company training solution to drive forward cultural change and innovation at all levels within Bradbury.

“We liked the fact it was bespoke,’ says Patsy. “Instead of saying, `This is what we are going to do’, they asked us what we needed and we explained to them our vision, what we wanted to do and where we wanted the company to be. And they came up with a work improvement programme.’’

The programme took people from different departments, giving them projects to work on around real issues in the company, imparting transferable skills. Also 30 team leaders and potential team leaders have been put on a leadership and management course and another five on a level 5 course and 26 doing a work improvement course.

Already the results are apparent. “It has gone really well,’’ says Patsy. “You can see even subtle changes in people on the training, they have more confidence and a more rounded understanding of how they fit into the company and how that affects other parts. Now we have people coming to us and asking to be on the next course.’’

Managing director Tim Strawson says: “I would just like to add I was delighted with the results and the massive enthusiasm that the group showed. It was brilliant to see it.’’

Following this feedback and the enthusiasm of the workforce, another two teams have been chosen for the next round of courses. “We’d like everybody to do the work improvement course to give them skills that we can use,’’ adds Patsy.

And what are KF Training like to work with? “Really helpful. They are really friendly and now they are just part of the team.’’