An Employer’s View on Apprenticeships
In the last 12 months there have been some major changes in the way Apprenticeships are funded and executed. Out of the door are frameworks and in are standards. These new standards are developed by employers for the sector and focus on knowledge and behaviours. Also in is the Levy where employers with a payroll of £3million plus pay 0.5% of it into their digital account and this pays for their Apprenticeship training, or if you are not a levy payer, you now have to pay 10% of the cost of the Apprenticeship.
We asked employers and organisations that we work with a series of questions to find out their thoughts and opinions on the changes. Here are some of their opinions.
Nearly 70% of organisations said that Apprenticeship changes were a good thing, and over 54% said they had a good understanding of the new funding rules. Interestingly there were still 36% said that they did not understand the new funding.
There were a number of challenges mentioned, including employers still found Apprenticeships complicated and that finding information especially on the government website was difficult. Many thought their site fragmented and not easy to navigate.
When asked about the government’s objectives 37% said the most important was to meet the skills needs of employers, with 30% thinking that creating more quality apprenticeships more important. Widening participation and social mobility was 23% of employers’ key objective. Interestingly 61% said they could not tell if these objectives were met and 15% felt that they were not being met at all.
When asked about the standards many wanted the removal of the 20% off the job training and asked for Apprenticeships to be aligned with business requirements. The way they were funded was also considered too complicated.
These findings are not unexpected as they seem to confirm some of the results of other surveys. It seems that there is a need for better communication of standards and funding, both by the government and to some extent, training providers. This could be why there has been a drop in the number of Apprenticeship starts since the levy was introduced. It would seem that some changes need to be implemented to ensure that employers embrace Apprenticeships, so that they take their place in supporting the skills needed for a strong economy.