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The Apprenticeship Levy: Practical implications for HR and organisations [video+article]

Employers have significant concerns about the structure of apprenticeships delivered under the new apprenticeship levy, including insufficient flexibility in the way learning is structured, according to a new report released.

 As the Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect, Lizzie Crowley, CIPD Skills Advisor, explains what the levy is, the opportunities it could provide, and what the practical implications are for HR and organisations.

According to , employers have significant concerns about the structure of apprenticeships delivered under the new apprenticeship levy, including insufficient flexibility in the way learning is structured, according to a new report released.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), which represents those who deliver training to apprentices, said the requirement for 20 per cent of apprentices’ training to take place ‘off the job’ was insufficiently flexible for employers.

AELP said the rules around off-the-job training did not go far enough to address the differing needs of employers and apprentices across different industries.

It found that just 13 per cent of training was currently delivered off-the-job, and said employers that were new to apprenticeships felt losing an apprentice for an average of a day each week would restrict the number of apprenticeships they were prepared to offer.

It suggested allowing other forms of training to count towards the 20 per cent total, including: training in the workplace that takes place in a separate training room, effective training and coaching at the apprentice’s own workstation, blended learning and the English and Maths coaching that is currently mandated for all apprentices.

According to the study, 59 per cent of current off-the-job training takes place either ’fully’ or ‘mostly’ on the employer’s premises, while more than half (56 per cent) of off-the-job training is undertaken away from the apprentice’s immediate workstation. More than a third (37 per cent) of off-the-job training takes place at workstations, but is kept separate from their job through clear separation and segregation.

The report also suggested making an upfront agreement between employers, apprentices and providers regarding the format of the apprenticeship programme.

Mark Dawe, AELP’s CEO, said that unless the Department for Education brought out new guidance and some examples of good practice “very soon”, employers that were considering offering apprenticeships for the first time could “hold back from engaging in the programme”. And added that this would deny “thousands of young people the apprenticeship opportunities they need”.

People Management reported that there was already evidence of training providers ‘fiddling’ costs and offering ‘kickbacks’ for using their services.