Use the Apprenticeship Levy for Existing Staff

The Apprenticeship Levy can be used to train existing employees. So what are the benefits, eligibility criteria and logistics?

The Benefits

Do you have skills gaps in your organisation? Have you recently promoted members of your team or changed their roles and responsibilities? Do you have a problem with staff retention or productivity?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s likely that apprenticeship training for your existing employees will bring benefits to your business.

Skills Gaps – You can conduct a skills gap analysis by identifying the skills which are important to your business and measuring the current skills of your workforce. Conducting an analysis is a particularly good idea if you’re having problems with meeting your company objectives, have changed your strategy or introduced new technologies. Once you’ve identified your skills gap, you can prioritise the skills and individuals to develop with apprenticeship training. If you’re unsure what your skills gaps are and how to use apprenticeships to improve them, please get in touch and we can help you.

Promotions and Role Changes – Apprenticeships are a great way to support an existing member of your team who gains a promotion. You’ve recognized their potential; the training will enable them to fulfill it. In other instances, you might make some changes to an individual’s job role due to restructuring or a change in business direction. This is particularly pertinent at the moment as many companies have had to reduce their staffing levels, resulting in remaining employees taking on more duties to continue moving forward. For example, managers may now be looking after larger, remote teams.

Retention and Productivity – Apprenticeships have been proven to increase staff retention, loyalty and commitment, as well as improve product and service quality.

The Eligibility

There are no age restrictions on who can complete an apprenticeship. Prior qualifications don’t necessarily matter either – as long as the apprenticeship training is substantively different to any qualifications already completed and that it will allow the individual to develop new skills.

Some apprenticeships have additional eligibility criteria that are set by the Institute of Apprenticeships but this is usually only for apprenticeships at level 4 and above. For example, individuals need to have a law degree or the CILEx Diploma in Law and Practice to complete the Level 6 Chartered Legal Executive Apprenticeship.

The Logistics

You don’t need to change the individual’s job title, contract of employment or salary. You will need an Apprenticeship Agreement, signed by you, as the employer, and the apprentice. There is also a Commitment Statement, signed by the employer, apprentice and training provider.

If you’re promoting apprenticeship training to your employees to generate interested individuals, it is worth considering the messaging carefully. Many people still have misconceptions about apprenticeships – that they are only for trades and school leavers or that they are just low level qualifications – so they may not realise how the training could help them develop, regardless of their age or job role.

It is advisable to plan the workload of the individual right from the start because an apprenticeship must include 20% off-the-job training. This doesn’t mean that they have to spend 20% of their time off-site but they do need to be undertaking activities that are not a part of their usual day-to-day activity e.g. shadowing and special projects, as well as time spent completing coursework or in workshops and meetings provided by the training provider. Consider if there are any tasks which can be passed on to someone else or if there are times during the day or week when the business is quieter to make the apprenticeship training easier.

During the apprenticeship, make sure there is good three-way communication between the line manager, apprentice and training provider. This will help the apprentice to maintain momentum and to get the most out of the training.

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate the success of your apprentices. Consider holding a (virtual) certificate presentation or featuring the apprentice on your intranet or website. This reinforces how much you value your employee and also promotes the training to others within your organisation.