Starting an apprenticeship programme from scratch is no easy task. It’s not something you can do as a whim or an afterthought, and certainly not something you can do half-heartedly.
If apprenticeships are being thrust into your corporate life by the introduction of the Levy, you may be feeling a little resentful. You may be looking for ways you can spend that Levy funding on existing members of staff rather than facing down a radical shake up of the way you do things. And that’s actually OK. There’s a really valid argument for using Levy funds to develop existing staff and support succession planning.
However, it's also worth considering how an apprenticeship recruitment programme could benefit your business.
The government has set the target of three million new apprenticeship positions by 2020 to fill the skills gap that already exists, which will only get wider without the provision of quality, targeted, technical and vocational training routes.
If you’ve been struggling to find the skills you need on the open market, then apprentices are a convincing option - and one that has been proven to offer great dividends. A growing number of big businesses are adding apprenticeships into their recruitment mix, convinced by the benefits of widening the talent pool and training good people from the bottom up in a way that’s tailored to their needs.
So how do you start? Just like writing a novel, the key to a successful apprenticeship programme is detailed planning. Don’t rush just because your Levy funding is sitting in the pot calling out your name.
There’s a lot to consider: working out what roles you want your apprentices to fill and how that fits with your long-term workforce and learner & development strategies, calculating how much funding is available, and whether there will be any additional costs to you, choosing your training and assessment providers, putting in place a management structure for the apprenticeship programme, changing culture, setting expectations and much more.
There will need to be a lot of information-gathering, too. An audit, if you will, of internal readiness to integrate apprentices, and the external organisations that are able to help you.
To assist you with taking the first step you can find lots of tips on developing a programme on our website, or let our team of experts guide you through the process by registering for our upcoming webinar ‘Designing an apprenticeship programme from Square One’ on the 22 November. If you can't make the live event simply download the presentation or catch up with other employer-focused presentations from our popular Insight webinar series.