Next week is National Apprenticeship Week – #NAW2021 – and, says Karen Taylor, there’s never been a better time for employers in banking and finance to take advantage of the apprenticeship levy.
Now in its 14th year, National Apprenticeship Week is undoubtedly a major highlight in the apprenticeships calendar!
NAW2021 is happening between 8 and 14 February 2021 and will, of course, look very different from other years, with virtual events taking centre stage this year.
But one aspect will not change. NAW2021 will provide a fantastic opportunity to showcase the impact apprenticeships can have – and are having every single day – on businesses, communities and economies up and down the country.
Train, retain and achieve
The theme for NAW2021 is ‘Build the Future’. And we are all being encouraged to focus on how apprenticeships enable employers and their workforce to train, retain and achieve – three words that could not be more apt to describe the value apprenticeships bring to any organisation.
For banks and other financial services organisations, the chance to futureproof their business by training individuals to achieve alongside experienced staff is second to none. And it’s all made possible through the apprenticeship levy.
With learning and development budgets being squeezed and scrutinised across the board, employers can access levy funds to pay for training apprentices.
What’s more, employers can still take advantage of additional financial incentives, introduced by the Chancellor last year, until the end of March.
If, as an employer, you’re not sure whether apprenticeships are right for your organisation, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the benefits.
1. Recruit new talent
You can recruit new, motivated and high calibre talent. By offering good training and development, including the chance to do a degree-level apprenticeship, you’re more likely to attract the brightest people.
What better way to ensure the skills you need are embedded from day one than to bring young people into your organisation and to have them working – and learning – alongside your already highly experienced staff?
At the same time, you’ll be helping to address the record levels of youth unemployment brought about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. And you’ll be able to offer opportunities to individuals who may otherwise have found it difficult to enter our industry.
2. Investing in staff
You can use the apprenticeship levy to fund training for your existing employees too. By investing in their learning and development, you’ll increase your employees’ job satisfaction.
That leads to confident and loyal employees who feel supported and valued by their employer, which in turn improves employee retention over the long term.
3. Close your skills gap
“Financial services had the largest increase in skills gaps and was one of only five sectors where skills gaps had widened, not closed, in recent years.” That’s according to last year’s Financial Services Skills Taskforce Final Report.
The report goes on to say that “employers need to offer their teams the opportunity to reskill and upskill to ensure that they are equipped for the next wave of digitisation”.
As digitisation accelerates, the apprenticeship levy and apprenticeship programmes can help you fill the skills gaps in your organisation and the sector as a whole.
An apprentice’s point of view
Lewis Dellar, a Level 6 Relationship Manager apprentice at Barclays, successfully completed his BSc (Hons) Banking Practice and Management with LIBF at the end of 2020.
Speaking at the LIBF Virtual Graduation in November, he said, “The group was truly diverse and attracted young aspiring professionals from all walks of life.”
He pointed out that everyone learns in a different style, but what he needed was a course that he felt was relevant to the career he was beginning.
“Everything I was being taught at the LIBF felt like a value-add to my own knowledge to be used in my day-to-day role. This makes apprenticeships so much broader than a political policy. It is an opportunity for corporations to access a wider range of potential talent.”
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.
Find out how our Apprenticeship Programmes could help your financial organisation