The Apprenticeship Levy launched in April 2017 represents a welcome incentive for businesses to invest in their workforce and many organisations have successfully utilised their contribution for highly effective development programmes.
However, many more have simply accepted the 0.5% payroll levy as just another employment tax or have spent their pot of money with little control over value for money. 91% of funds have yet to be spent according to a National Audit Office review of how the levy is operating. This is unsurprising given the complexity of Apprenticeship funding rules, standards and assessment regulations.
This bank of knowledge and skills often sits outside the comfort zone of managers gifted responsibility for administering an organisations levy account and can lead to purchasing decisions driven by training providers rather than employers.
Apprenticeship training providers have a conflict of interest with employers when it comes to value for money preferring to maximise their revenue per learner rather than justifying progression per pound of learning.
Provider interests are also focussed on ease of delivery and qualification completion, overlooking more demanding programmes and delivery models that may be better suited to employers requirements. This may help explain why one-third of apprentices are being trained by providers rated by OFSTED as inadequate or requires improvement.
Employers may be better suited by working with a portfolio of training providers than limiting themselves to the capabilities of individual organisations.
Limited tracking and monitoring of performance at work, and infrequent communication back to employers means Apprenticeship programmes can fail to deliver their expected outcomes.
The requirements of Apprenticeship schemes such as significant off-the-job training and long programme timescales designed to provide rigour for new hires straight from education may make them ill-suited to the development of existing employees and managers.
Aligning ownership of return on Levy spend between HR, Learning & Development, Finance and Procurement teams can add a further dimension of organisational complexity when working out the best use of available funds.
So how best to navigate this maze?
Melius has assembled a specialist team that can support you to get the best value from your Apprenticeship Levy.
Our team will provide the know-how to steer around these issues, provide clear alignment with organisational strategy and solid return on investment.
Areas where Melius can help clients get the most from their Apprenticeship Levy programme include:
· Sourcing and Onboarding Apprentices,
· Training Provider selection,
· Training Provider relationship and performance management,
· Return on Investment reporting, and
· Alignment with wider corporate Learning & Development spend.
For an informal conversation about how to understand your Levy position and develop an effective strategy, talk to David Morley at Melius.