As the Apprenticeship Levy moves into its second year of establishment, media reports suggest that the government legislation – billed to drive three-million apprenticeships by 2020 – has not been well received.

Three in ten employers who have used the Apprenticeship Levy admit that the process took longer than anticipated, with almost 20% describing the process as complicated. To combat this, Solvo Vir has looked into alternative ways to spread the message about the benefits of the Apprenticeship Levy, through a consultancy-based programme that guides employers through the process.

This hand-holding approach to accessing Levy funds could be a sensible move, as it removes confusion form the equation and the need to self-research. It is an approach that could pave the way to a new-found understanding of Levy funding, and potentially, an influx of employers ready to seize the training opportunities this legislation presents.

How consultancy benefits employers

Solvo Vir works closely with employers who may find the process daunting or complicated, covering how the Levy works, what funding does and doesn’t include, and how to calculate contribution costs. The process cuts out research time and hours of complicated calculations. Employers are given support, not only in these early stages, but when setting up apprenticeship schemes for employees too.

An initial consultation between the training provider and the business leader, presents a four-fold mentoring process: an overview of Levy funding, facts on how apprenticeships are structured, identifying the opportunities for each business and information on the training methods available.

The consultancy process helps employers to understand what the Levy is, whether they are expected to pay into the pot and if so, how much to contribute. Employers are guided through the level of government funding they are privy to, given an insight into course structures and, perhaps most importantly, shown how many qualifications they are able to fund.

How staff can be upskilled with apprenticeships

The benefits of these training opportunities are second to none. Management apprenticeships could support succession planning and help to tighten up dated processes across the business. Industry-specific qualifications, like accountancy or recruitment apprenticeships, could strengthen teams overall.

By improving knowledge, expanding employee skillsets and allowing individuals an opportunity to broaden their repertoire and reflect on their decisions, encourages the business to grow and develop.

The next steps of Apprenticeship Levy consultation

Following initial consultation, Solvo Vir will assess the training needs of each organisation to help assess where apprentices could fit with the current structure of the business, taking care to understand the individual needs and requirements of each case.

The most appropriate apprenticeship standards are then outlined, based on the criteria that would provide the benefit to the company. And the hand-holding doesn’t stop there. Solvo Vir will support the business on an ongoing basis, from final receipt of funding through to day-to-day employee training.

This approach of gentle guidance and one-on-one mentoring takes the stress out of the Apprenticeship Levy and could help more employers take advantage of valuable training opportunities and build upskilled teams, that could go on to vastly strengthen and improve their business.

Carl Smith, Managing Director, Solo Vir

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