3 top tips to maximise the apprenticeship Levy

Apprenticeships in the UK by Bragd

Let’s be honest, the apprenticeship levy isn’t as easy to understand as we would all like. There are complexities and a level of detail that make even the most conscientious of us sit and scratch our heads. Even reading the shortest of paragraphs on most website starts to bombard us with a plethora of words and phrases that make us reach for caffeine.

Levy, 20% OTJ, WDF, co-investment, funding bands, ESFA, Ofsted. Without a dedicated person focusing on understanding this confusing landscape, some of our clients had either give us and seen the Levy as ‘just another tax’ (their words not ours!) or had done the best they could but ended up losing money because they were underspending their levy funds.

Underspend levy funds? How is that possible? Did you know that in 2019 alone, there was almost £2bn difference between the amount of money employers paid into the ‘levy pot’ and the amount of money they spent?

The apprenticeship levy is a great concept and properly managed, can make a significant difference to the performance of any organisation.  If you haven’t spent your levy funds yest, isn’t not too late to get back on track. Here are out 3 top tips for getting the best out of the levy.

Learning and development isn’t a quick fix.  Taking the time to properly identify existing and future skills gap is a critical part of building competitive advantage. Your staff are normally your most important asset, and investing time and effort into developing their knowledge, skills and performance is critical. A recent study in Forbes magazine showed that 40% of dissatisfied employees leave their jobs, so retaining your key talent has never been more important. The same study also recognised that most employers underestimate how long it takes for staff to properly learn new skills and apply them in the workplace. Identify areas where you could really benefit from upskilling or reskilling your team. Have a look at the training you want to offer and you may well find there is an apprenticeship standard that can help. Check out the Institute for Apprenticeships’ website to see what apprenticeships could fit the bill.

One of the most frequent misunderstandings we chat with prospective clients about is the off-the-job (OTJ) requirement. Many people we seem to think this means giving every apprentice a day a week of ‘day-release’. Nothing can be further from the truth. Any good provider should work to the 10-20-70 rule of learning which puts practical experience at the very heart of the apprenticeship. This means that only approximately 10% of the OTJ hours should be made up of formal training and coursework. Approximately 20% of the OTJ hours should then be made up of collaborative activities, such as coaching, mentoring and peer support.  This leaves 70% of the OTJ hours, which should then be made up of properly supported hand-on-practical experience in the workplace. This 70% focus allow employees to try out and refine their new found skills in a real work environment, where the decisions they make and the work they do deals with real life.

Partnerships are the bread and butter of business.  Effective partnerships can be the difference between success and failure. We pride ourselves on becoming a trusted partner to each of our clients.  We’ve been told that we know our clients better than they know themselves. Choosing a training partner that cannot only help you navigate the crazy world of funding streams, but can also design, build and deliver high quality, strategically focussed, apprenticeship programmes that really make a difference is critical. We would recommend you also work with a partner that can work with you on areas such as administration, compliance and contract management. Bragd can offer you a full one-stop-shop for all your levy needs.

We all know that providing teams with training and development opportunities is fundamental to ensuring long term motivation – often more than a pay rise. Now is an ideal opportunity to use the apprenticeship levy to upskill your teams, improve employee engagement and drive business improvements all for little or no cost.

Our apprenticeship programs are a great way to stay ahead of the pack in today’s fast-paced business environment and can help you promote a culture of continuous growth and excellence, creating a future that your employees want to be part of.

From management to IT & cyber security, from health and safety marketing to business administration or logistics management, we have you covered. To find out more about how we may be able to help you, or to book a free, no-obligation consultation please email pam@bragd.co.uk or call us on 020 4576 0290.

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