The challenge of Apprenticeship targets in the public sector

This is a photograph of Steve.
This is a photograph of Steve.

Posted by  Steve Morris, Head of Key Accounts, Apprenticeships,

As we come to the end of celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, we’re seeing more and more apprentices sharing their inspiring stories (and selfies!) on social media with employers and providers holding recruitment events and Q and As both online and off.

As an organisation that’s inspired over 300,000 apprentices to achieve, it’s great to see the conversation opening up and busting the myths around Apprenticeships.  But as the debate over the levy accelerates, especially in light of yesterday’s 10% funding top-up announced in the Budget, it’s clear there’s still work to do to provide the right information and guidance to employers and help them grasp the opportunities the levy will provide.

The challenge in the public sector may be particularly tough as the recent piece from the Local Government Association, which advised the cost of meeting targets would top £600m for Town Halls up and down the country, shows.

It’s a very scary number, but what we’ve found through our work with public sector organisations like Leeds City Council and Dudley MBC is that investing in an Apprenticeship programme has huge benefits.

For LCC, not only are apprentices turning into great employees, with over 40% securing promotions or permanent positions since they started an Apprenticeship, they’re exceeding all expectations, says Nicola Milner, from Leeds’ Business Support Centre:

“The apprentices are bringing fresh ideas and approaches and embracing the new ways we are working as a public sector organisation.”

Find out how the Apprenticeship Levy will work in the public sector

We’re creating new and existing relationships with public sector bodies every day, in fact, next month we’re partnering with Hays to hold a series of breakfast workshops, which will look at how some organisations are already responding to reform and what their plans are for the future. If you’d like to hear more about these, please get in touch.

It’s also incredibly important to stress that Apprenticeships aren’t solely for new recruits or young people straight out of school. Many public sector organisations use our frameworks to develop the skills and qualifications of their existing employees. So these targets won’t always require a spike in the workforce but could mobilise a workforce instead.

96% of employers we’ve worked with believe they’ve benefited from Apprenticeships and there’s no reason to believe the levy will change this, but there’s still some way to go to make sure we’re all in it together. The most important lesson we’ve learn in our partnerships is that if we work together with you, as employers, we can prepare, set the direction and make the most of the opportunity!

If you’ve got any questions about the Apprenticeship Levy, please drop us a line. Or you can download our Apprenticeship Levy briefing note.

Find out more about Steve  and learndirect.