The Government is making some big changes to apprenticeships. The aim is to put employers in control of how apprenticeships are utilised – training new recruits (traditional apprentices) as well as developing existing staff through higher level apprenticeship qualifications.
From April large employers like the Council will need to pay the Apprenticeship Levy, 0.5% of the wage bill, which will then be available to buy apprenticeship training. We will also need to meet a new public sector target by having 2.3% of our employees undertaking apprenticeship training each year.
For many years the Council has successfully delivered its apprenticeship programme and some of our apprentices have received national awards for their performance.
New employer-led apprenticeships standards are being developed in many occupational areas, ranging from entry level jobs to senior level posts. It will put apprenticeships on par with university education leading to new, approved pathways into professions not currently available through the vocational route.
In the current financial climate paying the levy will create additional challenges but also create an opportunity to integrate apprenticeship training to support new ways of delivering services.
To prepare for these changes, the Council are consulting with senior managers and staff in order to get the best outcomes. An independent review has also been completed on our current programme.
We are also sharing our apprenticeship approach with other employers and helping each other to ensure value for money both as individual employers and for the district as a whole.