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Apprenticeship reform has been has been largely driven by a need to fill skills gaps in the workforce. According to research by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, one in seven local employers have staff who are not fully proficient in their job role. This represents a 5% skills gap.

The apprenticeship programme has been well utilised at lower levels, with a large amount of level 2 and level 3 study programmes taken up year-on-year. However, training at higher levels has fallen short of its potential, partially due to the misconception that apprenticeship training is reserved for 16-19 year olds.

The apprenticeship scheme has no age limit and anyone can use it to upskill or retrain at any point of their career. Higher and degree apprenticeships are slowly growing, with 27,160 taken up in 2016.

For levy paying employers there is now a dedicated budget set aside (their levy), which they can freely use to upskill their existing workforce. Non-levy payers are able to access affordable training (paying only 10% of the cost) to upskill and reward their staff. This training could even be free, if younger candidates are selected.

Employers can also recruit staff directly onto an apprenticeship scheme, benefiting from new perspectives and fresh talent in their workforce.

Making an impact

Higher and degree apprenticeships give candidates the opportunity to access education that might have previously been unavailable to them. They can apply their learning directly to their role, using up-to-date training to make improvements in the workplace.

Apprenticeships are a great way for existing staff (who may have left education a number of years previously) to diversify their experiences, challenge themselves and have their achievements underpinned by formal qualifications.

For new staff, apprenticeship reform will offer entry to employment that might have previously been out of reach. They can learn the role and be supported by the knowledge, skills and behaviours that their training provider offers.

According to the Chartered Management Institute, 75% of employers don’t train their managers (PDF). In recent years the term 'accidental manager' has emerged. These are talented staff who are accelerated to their positions because of their acumen, but have not been formally recognised through study. Statistics suggest that staff who have received investment, such as apprenticeship funding, are more likely to dedicate themselves to their employer.

Get in touch

The team here at Solent are happy to talk through your current situation and look at how we can work together to address your training needs.

Get in touch with us via email at ask@solent.ac.uk, or call 023 8201 5066.

Useful links

GOV.UK's guide to apprenticeship funding

Solent's step-by-step guide to the apprenticeship service (PDF)

GOV.UK's apprenticeship homepage

The Skills Funding Agency's guide to higher and degree apprenticeships

National Apprenticeship Service's guide for employers

You can also call the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 or email them at nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk.

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