How to Grow Your Own Talent by Using the Apprenticeship Levy


Rob Fisher

Director of HR Services


As talking about recruitment can be a difficult subject these days, I thought about a light-hearted opening to this blog, but quickly found recruitment is no joke. Well maybe apart from, “I lost my job as a psychic, I didn’t see that coming!” or “I wanted to be a barber, but I just couldn’t cut it!

However, on a more serious note, the CIPD produced their latest ‘Resourcing and Talent Planning’ Survey Report in 2017 in partnership with HAYS. The key findings from this report are as follows;

  • Almost half of organisations have developed more talent in house and used new media/technology to recruit.
  • Organisations anticipate a greater focus on developing more talent in-house, as well as an increase in both focusing more on retaining rather than recruiting talent and investing more time and effort in the quality of candidates.
  • Over four-fifths of organisations maintain that competition for well qualified talent has increased over the past year.
  • Over a quarter of organisations predict that recruitment in their organisation will increase as a direct result of the apprenticeship levy.

With an ever changing political and economic climate, the battle for talent is getting increasingly more challenging. So what better way to get ahead in this battle is there, than growing your own talent? While this statement is much easier said than done, the opportunity to do so has never been greater since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.

April 2017 saw the introduction of the apprenticeship levy which requires companies with more than a £3m pay bill pay 0.5% into the levy each month, which can then be used to fund the cost of Apprenticeship programmes. The aim is to fund 3 million apprenticeships in the UK by 2020, however it also gives companies the option to upskill existing staff or allow them to change the direction of their career as opposed to just recruiting additional staff. If the strategy of an organisation allows them to utilise all of their ‘levy pot’ then any further funding required would be supported by the Government for 90% of the shortfall.

Whilst this is excellent news for large employers, there is also a great opportunity for smaller organisations who will only be required to pay 10% of the cost of an apprenticeship with the Government funding the remaining 90%. Also, this is only payable for employees over the age of 19. The Government fully funds any apprenticeships for younger employees. There are also financial incentives, such as grants available to recruit apprentices aged 16 – 18.

There is still a perception that Apprenticeships are very much an extension of the traditional YTS scheme that used to exist for school leavers, however following the Levy there is so much more of an opportunity. For example, you can now complete an MBA programme through the apprenticeship levy as well as many leadership and management courses. Feedback from clients suggest that there is still a hangover from the recession in 2008, whereby managers and team leaders have not had the required training for them to perform their job effectively.

The Strategi Solutions Group has created their own pathway that begins at a pre-apprenticeship level. Academies in Stoke-on-Trent are currently in partnership with local employers to provide a ‘Work Based Learning Programme’. This sees students spend 2 days per week in college and 3 days a week with an employer with no cost burden to the employer. Should the student be successful in this placement, there is often the potential for them to go on to do an apprenticeship programme with that employer.

In our business, we believe that employees at all levels should have the opportunity to progress, whether that be a work based learner, apprentice, Manager or Director. As a non-levy payer, the Company only has to fund 10% of the course. Therefore, an employee could do a course that would have cost £27,000 for only £2,700 paid in instalments. Therefore, employees can continue academically while progressing their careers by growing their experience. Throughout the pathway, employees will continue to live and breathe the values of an organisation whilst working with training providers to gain accredited qualifications at the same time.

If you would like to know more about the Work Based Learning Programme or how Strategi Solutions can help with your succession planning, please speak to a member of the HR team.