The practical lessons that yield true value

Apprentice training programmes can be undertaken by new or existing employees from the age of 16 and combine workplace training with off-the-job learning
Apprentice training programmes can be undertaken by new or existing employees from the age of 16 and combine workplace training with off-the-job learning

The upcoming National Apprentice Week will highlight a wealth of opportunities to benefit individuals and the wider economy

By Barry McDonald

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The benefits of apprenticeships to individuals, businesses and the wider economy are clear to see. A person (young or of more mature years) gains invaluable work experience and learns while they earn, the business gains skilled employees – and the country as a whole takes a step toward closing the increasing skills gap.

Apprenticeships have been proven to be a worthwhile investment for both the government and employers. Apprenticeships provide a typical return of £26-£28 for every £1 of government investment in apprenticeship at levels 2 and 3. As the UK faces a skills shortage, needing millions of new technical and professional skilled workers over the next decade, quality training including apprenticeships will play a vital role in raising employment levels and improving productivity.

Since 2010, approximately 2.5 million young people have started an apprenticeship. From engineering and manufacturing to health and social care, they are recognised are being vital to the business community and key to a growing economy.

The apprentice training programmes can be undertaken by new or existing employees from the age of 16 and combine training in the workplace with off-the-job-learning.

Apprenticeships give aspiring professionals the real world experience they need to get the edge in the job market, and will show employers that you can hit the ground running. For many, the apprenticeship route is not such an obvious choice. But for those who are motivated to get started in the job market, an apprenticeship is an excellent way of gaining essential experience.

As a global leader in skills development, City & Guilds Group is the standard bearer of apprenticeships in the UK. City & Guilds works closely with employers to ensure their apprenticeships help businesses build a more qualified and better-trained workforce with the right skills for the job.

A City & Guilds apprenticeship can be fully tailored to meet the needs of any business, ensuring effective learning and guaranteed recognition for learners. By placing quality and learning at the heart of their apprenticeships, they can be used by employers and education providers for all structured workplace learning and development.

Apprenticeships in the UK are currently undergoing government reforms, which include the introduction of Trailblazers (newly developed Apprenticeship Standards that will eventually replace the existing SASE Frameworks). To raise additional funding, the Government is also introducing a levy for all employers in the UK from 6th April 2017. If your business has an annual pay bill of more than £3m, you will be required to pay a monthly, compulsory, deposit into the government’s apprenticeship training fund each month calculated as 0.5% of your total pay bill.

The government will, however, be introducing an apprenticeship levy allowance of £15,000 per year, so businesses can subtract this amount from the 0.5% of the total PAYE bill that they are due to pay. The £15,000 businesses will receive in their apprenticeship service account and any additional levy can be spent on government-approved apprentice training providers.

The National Apprenticeship Service has announced that the 10th annual National Apprenticeship Week will be taking place from March 6-10. Co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, the week is designed to celebrate the positive impact apprenticeships and traineeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

The 10th National Apprenticeship Week will bring together employers and apprentices from across the country to celebrate the success of apprenticeships over the last decade and will seek to encourage even more people to choose apprenticeships as a fast-track to a great career.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: “National Apprenticeship Week is about celebrating the best in apprenticeships and traineeships. The week highlights the vital role apprenticeships and traineeships play in giving people from all backgrounds a ladder of opportunity.

Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service added: “National Apprenticeship Week is an important date in the calendar as the week brings to the forefront of everyone’s minds the importance of helping to get more people to consider becoming an apprentice, whilst we celebrate the success apprenticeships bring to business.

“National Apprenticeship Week 2017 will raise awareness that the time is right for potential apprentices to get the skills they need for a great job, and for businesses, how they can grow their own talent while developing the motivated, skilled and qualified workforce they need, no matter what size their business is.”