The Apprenticeship Levy - what's next?

In her monthly South Wales Argus column, Acorn’s Commercial Director, Sarah John talks about the South Wales HR Network’s latest seminar; The Apprenticeship Levy – how will it affect your business?

As you may remember from my last column, last Wednesday I attended an Apprenticeship Levy focused seminar.

Run by the South Wales HR Network, in partnership with Acorn and the South Wales Chamber of Commerce. The event, aimed at Directors, HR and Training Managers, consultants, advisors and employers in general, helped them to understand the Apprenticeship Levy and how it may impact on their Welsh-based organisations.  

We welcomed over 60 attendees to Cardiff City Stadium and as Director of Acorn’s Training Division and newly appointed Interim Chairperson for the NTfW; I welcomed attendees, setting the scene and introduced how the UK government is planning to implement a compulsory payroll tax for all employers with a pay bill of more than £3 million each year.

Fantastic success 

The event was a fantastic success and I was thrilled to see so many people there representing strong sustainable Welsh businesses. Much debated in the press, we are still unsure exactly how the proposed levy will affect Wales but the seminar did shed new light. So here are the key insights I took away:

  • Apprenticeships are key to supporting the UK labour market – with an ageing workforce, skill shortages and new job opportunities constantly within easy reach of your employees, apprenticeships provide a solution to developing the skills you need within your business, and are excellent for motivating and retaining new and existing staff.
  • People create value for businesses – and apprenticeships create value for people.
  • Employers want more engagement and autonomy – businesses want to be able to tailor their own apprenticeship programmes from development to delivery.
  • The Welsh Government continues to be supportive and has implemented clear priorities and goals:
  • The Welsh Government plans to increase higher apprenticeships, and pilot degree apprenticeships, particularly within the science, technology, engineering and professional fields.
  • They aim to develop the reputation of apprenticeships to encourage more school leavers to join the programme.
  • Key commitments have been made to deliver a minimum of 100,000 quality all age apprenticeships allowing many more employers to get involved.
  • An Apprenticeship Employer Advisory Group is set to be introduced.

To conclude, regardless of whether or not you are in favour of the levy, since news of the proposed tax broke, we haven’t stopped talking about apprenticeships, and the value of them. Ultimately, the levy throws up a number of questions that are yet to be answered and so in the meantime, I would urge all employers to continue working with their training providers to assess their needs and source of funding.

Download Sarah's column >

NB: with thanks to Kevin Green, Chief Executive at REC and the Welsh Government;s Apprenticeship Unit who gave me me and attendees invaluable insight. 

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