HR · 18 March 2016

Creating future-proof apprenticeships: Our top five tips

Equip apprentices with the skills they’ll need for more advanced roles
As National Apprenticeship Week 2016 draws to a close, Business Advice pulled together some helpful tips on how small business owners can take full advantage of apprenticeship schemes, maximising the chances of retaining top talent.

(1) Identify how apprenticeships can address your business needs

The key to designing an effective, sustainable apprenticeship programme is to ensure that it is embedded in your workforce planning strategy and responds to real and tangible business needs, instead of it being a separate bolt-on initiative.

(2) Choose standards that address current and future skills gaps in your business

Apprentices must complete an approved course of training aligned to a job role now called a ‘standard? under the new system in England. There is a very broad list of standards to choose from, and they allow employers to bring specific skills into the business.

By identifying what skills your business needs now and in a few years? time, you will be able to select the standards that best match these needs. If an appropriate standard doesnt currently exist, you can design your own.

(3) Calculate costs and research what funding you’re eligible for

There are two direct costs associated with employing apprentices their wages and the cost of their training. The government provides funding to cover some or all of the training costs depending on which criteria you and your apprentices meet, but you must cover the wage costs yourself.

If you are a larger employer and need to pay the Apprenticeship Levy, costing 0.5 per cent of your UK wage bill, you will be able to claim back the amount you pay as digital vouchers to spend on apprenticeship training. By calculating this amount now, you will have a clear idea of what your training budget will be. Individual training fees will range from 3, 000 to 27, 000 depending on the level and complexity of training required.



Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

Work and Wellbeing