There is still a lot of confusion over the government’s plans to introduce an apprenticeships levy. At least in my mind there is and it would seem that I am not alone. When I raised it with my colleagues on the NECIT group none of them had heard about it yet it is going to be big once we get our heads around it.
The government has set a target of recruiting 3 million Apprentices by the year 2020. The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, due to start in April 2017, will support this initiative. If you have a wage bill of more than £3 million per year then 0.5% of it will be taken from you and put into a fund which can be used for apprentice training. It cannot be used to pay the wages of the apprentices however.
That is a big commitment and something we should really be ready for. What is not yet clear is how it is all going to work but somethings are starting to emerge from the fog. What I am seeing is exciting and very much supports the direction of travel that we have adopted in ICT Services.
The levy is part of a series of changes to the apprenticeship programme. It is moving away from the gathering of qualifications to being career useful. Employers will be able to specify the requirements they have to meet their job skills needs. It is concentrating on creating a demand for training rather than a supply. It is moving away from job frameworks to job standards and it is moving from generic traineeships to targeted apprenticeships based upon real job roles. We will also be able to use multiple providers to help develop the people while there is also a strong emphasis on everyone having a good grounding in maths and English.
This has to be good news yet our focus needs to be in how we maximise the training and development of the future workers rather than how we maxims our return on the levy. If you are not aware of it then now is the time to find out more.