Editor's message: The Government is hoping that an increased use of apprenticeships will help to improve the UK's productivity levels and address skills shortages.
Apprenticeships are in-work training programmes under which the apprentice engages in on- and off-the-job learning and development activities that will lead to a work-based qualification.
As well as being a way of attracting school leavers to your organisation, apprenticeships can be used to develop the skills of your existing staff as part of their ongoing training and development. There are levels of apprenticeship available from equivalent to GCSE up to a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
A new funding system for apprenticeships, the apprenticeship levy, was introduced in April 2017. If your organisation has a paybill of more than £3 million you must pay the levy (set at 0.5% of the paybill), and employers that operate in England - regardless of their paybill size - can claim funding from the levy to pay for apprenticeship training and end-point assessment.
Rachel Sharp, HR practice editor
Apprenticeships should be seen as an opportunity to improve social mobility, increase productivity and develop a skilled workforce, according to a report backed by former education secretary Justine Greening MP.
Almost one million temporary workers are being excluded from skills development opportunities because of a poorly designed apprenticeships system, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation has claimed.
Updated with information on the planned extension of apprenticeship service accounts to employers that do not pay the apprenticeship levy.
The government is to consider using "gender-neutral language" in apprenticeship standards to ensure women are not deterred from training for a career in traditionally male-dominated occupations.
The government is in serious danger of making apprenticeships unaffordable for smaller businesses, with reforms urgently needed to curb the continued decline in apprentice numbers.
The number of organisations being pursued by HMRC for apprenticeship levy underpayment has more than doubled in a year, as a growing number of businesses find it difficult to comply with.
Training providers have called on the government to remove the highest and degree level apprenticeships from the scope of funding in order to relieve growing pressures on the apprenticeship levy.
Employers are four times more likely to worry about how their apprentices dress for work than they would about graduates, a survey by the Institute of Student Employers has revealed.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to apprenticeships.