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Changes to the Apprenticeship Landscape

ISO Quality Services

Formed in 2000, ISO Quality Services Ltd is a Worcester based, family-run business that specialises in the implementation, certification and continued auditing of ISO and BS EN Management Standards. In addition, we offer consultancy, training and internal auditing as additional services.

As a company we have been investing in apprenticeships for over 4 years, and have now trained and developed five apprentices in various roles within the business. We have also been awarded a regional award two years running for our work with apprentices, from the National Apprenticeship Service.

Our Operations Director, Jennifer states ‘To us apprenticeships are an affordable and imaginative way of bringing new talent and new ideas into the business. Apprenticeships also allow us to trial new roles, push the business into new markets and create more team leader and management positions for our staff.

With every job opening in the business apprenticeships are always a viable first option, based on the direction we want the role to go in. In the last 12 months we have employed 3 new apprentices and created a role that was entirely new to the business; a digital marketing apprentice.’

The business operates a robust induction program for the apprentices to undergo, like any other employee that starts here. They also have the opportunity to work in different departments and undertake job shadowing, which enriches their skill sets.  

To ensure our apprentices can reach their potential, we offer a structured training program where our apprentices attend not only in-house but also external training courses as part of their learning.

In our experience, all parties benefit from the experience. Apprenticeships are always a practical option to help us grow, while providing more opportunities for young people in our local area.

However, the face of apprenticeships is changing and this is something businesses of all sizes need to understand as the government aims to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

The levy which will be introduced to the UK on the 6th April 2017 and will ensure that larger businesses with a pay bill of over £3 million a year are investing in apprenticeships, with the total investment equalling around 0.5% of the pay bill.

Large businesses who are subject to the levy will be able to claim the return through apprenticeship investment vouchers. This money can then be used on training for employees, which will replace the apprenticeship training funding currently provided by the Skills Funding Agency.

The government believes that that the levy will give employers more control over their investment in apprenticeships and generating the correct skills that they need in their roles.

For us as a small business that values apprenticeships, it is really encouraging to see the government backing the apprenticeship route, and with larger businesses having to offer apprenticeship programmes from April. We feel it is a real positive in generating the necessary support for apprenticeships and the types of roles and industries apprentices will be able to enter.

It is also important that schools, colleges and universities understand the levy and the affect it could have on routes to work. Schools and colleges will be pushed more strongly to discuss the apprenticeship route with students and universities may have to change their approach, as larger businesses will be wanting to see a return on their investment through the levy.

The levy is just one factor in the changing landscape of apprenticeships in the UK. In our view it’s another positive movement in changing the perceptions of apprenticeships as another viable route to work for young people.