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How to start an apprenticeship scheme in your business

19 November, 2020Karen Taylor

Apprenticeships are a great vehicle for learning and development, training new staff and providing recognised qualifications in house – especially if you’re already paying the Apprenticeship Levy. So how do you get started?

handshake1. Find out whether you’re paying the Apprenticeship Levy or are entitled to other government funding

Any company can offer an apprenticeship, but if your annual pay bill is over £3m you automatically pay into the levy whether you’re offering apprenticeships or not.

If your wage bill is under £3m you go to a co-investment, which means the government pays 95% of your apprenticeship training bill and you pay 5%. That’s still a big subsidy on learning and development in small companies. 

You can also claim up to £2,000 as an incentive payment if they hire an apprentice aged 16-24 who starts before 31 January 2021. The payment is £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 and over.

2. Identify your skills gaps

You should, as an employer, have a good idea of the roles you need to fill, the skills gaps in your organisation, and what your business needs for the future.

For example, if you know digital banking skills are going to be a big focus in your future operations, that’s an area you want to develop at this stage. That way, in three or four years’ time you’ve got people who will be ready to step into the roles you need.

3. Think about the problem you want to solve

Do you want to retain staff, upskill workers for management roles or fill a skills gap?

An apprenticeship scheme might slot into or build on your current learning and development programme. If you’re paying the levy in any case, why not use it to solve a human resources problem?

Look at your needs and talk to your training provider about what they can offer. Then go back to the business areas in your company, to check whether what’s offered would be a good fit.

4. See if there’s an apprenticeship standard for the role that you need to fill

Apprenticeship standards set out what an apprentice should be doing and the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of them, by job role. Standards are developed by employer groups known as ‘trailblazers’.

If there’s not an existing standard which fits your needs, you may want to consider collaborating with other employers to develop one.

5. Find the right training provider

As an employer, you’ll need to invest time to make an apprenticeship scheme work and that’s why it’s crucial to make sure you have the right training provider.

There are over 2,000 registered training providers. To sift through these, there are certain questions you should ask potential providers and qualities you should look out for.

The training provider should be:

  • listening to you and answering your questions
  • making your life easier by helping you understand and navigate the process
  • helping you co-create the programme you want, that's tailored to your needs so that you get a return on your investment
  • able and willing to support your apprentice with everything from pastoral care to support materials.

Ultimately, the training provider is there to help you as an apprentice employer and help you at every stage of the process.

As a university college, an approved apprenticeship training provider and a professional body, we provide the skills and knowledge that the sector expects from people starting or progressing their careers in banking and finance.

Karen Taylor
Karen leads the development, implementation and delivery of our apprenticeship strategy, including at higher and degree-level. Karen had a previous career in banking including financial institution relationship management before joining LIBF to specialise on our higher education, online and postgraduate programmes.

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