The apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2017 to support three million new apprenticeships, so young people can acquire the skills to succeed, with a focus on delivering more of the high-quality training that businesses value. Yet with the 2020 target approaching, apprenticeship starts are down by 31%1 and employers are citing significant skills gaps in many sectors. For example, 50% of employers surveyed by the Open University in 2018 reported digital skills shortages2.
Despite this, employers want to play their part in supporting the system and making the levy work. With practical collaboration between training providers and employers, apprenticeships can help to address the skills gap challenge by providing quality training for young people. Employers are always looking to get the best value for money from providers, so here are our tips for ensuring your training provision stands out:
1. Research the employer
Carry out in-depth research into the business and prepare a detailed training proposal, which will help to make a great first impression and show that you understand the needs of the business. Training providers should aim to mirror the business practices of the employer, with agreements, resources and documents being concise and easy to understand.
Establishing a service level agreement between provider and employer at the outset is an effective way of ensuring everyone understands their responsibilities. A goal-led guide about the training delivery will also help employers apply the apprenticeships to their business model.
3. Communication is key
Appointing a dedicated point of contact within the training organisation, with whom the employer can check on the progress of their apprentices, will help iron out any problems and address concerns. A close working relationship helps to build confidence between providers and employers.
4. Promotion and visibility
An increased online presence, including active social media accounts, will enhance your organisation’s visibility with employers. Make sure your website is simple, error-free and engaging. You could also use your ‘alumni’ apprentices to act as ambassadors for your organisation, which is a great way to show employers that you have been successful in delivering quality training previously.
5. Meeting standards
Training organisations should be able to show that their staff have the appropriate knowledge of the business sector they are working in. Providers should also be able to show the financial health of their organisation, compliance with equality legislation as well as adherence to health and safety regulations.
2The Open University Business Barometer 2018