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Apprenticeships Work: How to Get the Most Out of the Apprenticeship Levy


Apprenticeships Work: How to Get the Most Out of the Apprenticeship Levy

by Ed Chacksfield

Senior Consultant

This week is National Apprenticeship Week in the UK and a lot of businesses remain in the dark about how best to use the Apprenticeship Levy introduced last year.

In September 2017, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned that firms did not know how to make the most of it, saying that nearly a quarter of firms (23 per cent) paying the tax do not understand it. Further, more than half (56 per cent) do not expect to recover anything from their payments to the government.

The Levy has indeed changed the way that employers need to think when it comes to development and especially leadership development and they shouldn’t ignore the opportunities that arise from the Levy. In IDG’s view these changes are definitely a great opportunity to track and develop talent in a professional, sustainable and rigorous manner. Here’s why we believe leadership apprenticeships will fundamentally improve the overall practice of leadership and management in the UK in the long term.

  1. Time – Both the level 3 (First Line Manager) and level 5 (Operations Manager) programmes run from 18 months to 2 years respectively and seek to embed the knowledge, attitude and skills required of a leader in the 21st century through a reflection, practice and the practical application what they learn. One of the key challenges that IDG faces with embedding behavioural change is that you are simply not afforded sufficient time to achieve this fully. The apprenticeship affords proper time to develop the skills to lead.
  2. Involvement – Apprenticeships sit firmly within the Organisation not outside of it. In IDG’s experience the most successful programme’s we run as those that have a full commitment, involvement and interest of the whole organisation in the development of these delegates from the senior leadership through to the L&D department. Leadership Apprenticeships demand this as there are regular touchpoints with Line managers and mentors who track, challenge and support the apprentice over the two years
  3. 20% of time at work on the Apprenticeship – One of the many concerns cited by employers regarding the leadership apprenticeship is how one enables the mandatory 20% of the “working week” spent doing the apprenticeships. This has actually proven to be very straight forward with the application of some technology that enables learning to be done over coffee breaks with a smart phone and also through a better understanding and recording of what constitutes apprenticeship work. For example the application of a leader’s apprenticeship learning around performance management and the subsequence practical application of that learning in a 1-2-1 would be entirely appropriate to be recorded as time working on the apprenticeship.
  4. Cost – One of the major challenges presented to any Organisation is finding the budget for leadership development as the measurement of ROI around leadership can often prove difficult to evidence objectively. If you are an employer with a wage bill in excess of £3million the funding for leadership apprenticeships can be funded by reclaiming from the Levy placed upon you by the HMRC. If this money is not claimed for apprenticeship schemes of any sort within 2 years the money is lost and goes back to the Treasury.

IDG are have developed an apprenticeship programme that goes beyond the standard curriculum and introduces your managers to leadership theories and techniques. In partnership with the Babington Group, we have launched the Leadership Experience Apprenticeship Programme. LEAP provides CMI-approved high quality apprenticeships for team leaders and managers with an exclusive leadership element that incorporates experiential learning at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In addition, Ofsted-approved provider Babington manage the Levy process for you to ensure it is as smooth and stress-free as possible!

Find out more about the Leadership Experience Apprenticeship Programme