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
Nine out of 10 (92%) employers want more flexibility in how they can spend their apprenticeship levy allowance, with some employers suggesting they would rather use the money for other methods of upskilling.
People under the age of 25 are least likely to see the value in apprenticeships, according to research from the government's Social Mobility Commission.
Employers now favour employing apprenticeships over graduates, a survey from manufacturers' organisation EEF suggests.
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Apprenticeships will play a vital role in helping employers embrace new developments in technology, according to research from The 5% Club.
Updated to reflect the Budget 2018 announcement that the co-investment rate will be reduced to 5%.
Requirements for public sector employers to ensure a certain percentage of their workforce is apprentices may pose some organisational challenges, but Simon Rouse from PeoplePlus explains how apprenticeships can also help public sector organisations become more productive and better reflect their communities.
A national training organisation that claims on its website to have "created more opportunities than any other apprenticeship provider" has entered administration.
Employers have an opportunity to shape the future of apprenticeships when the government publishes a consultation on the apprenticeship levy's future beyond 2020. Lady Cobham, director general of The 5% Club, argues that changes need to be made.
Apprenticeships do not offer sufficiently high quality training and too many disadvantaged people are missing out, claims a damning Education Committee report.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to apprenticeships.