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Insights & Action from effective Benchmarking” – The 5% Club launches the 2024/25 Employer Audit

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During an event hosted by Grant Thornton at their offices in London on 1 May 2024, The 5% Club launched the fourth year of the highly successful “Employer Audit” and coupled “UK Employer Earn & Learn Awards”. The event attended by cross-sector representatives from the ESG and HR Professions explored the findings from the first three years of research, including specific approaches to take the associated insights forward in effective action planning, The 5% Club Employer Audit 2021-2023. The event was hosted by Mark Cameron OBE, Chief Executive, The 5% Club), included insights from Martin Birchall, (Research Director for the Employer Audit, and Managing Director of Highfliers Research), Katie Nightingale (Director, People Advisory, Grant Thornton), and Matthew Crossey (Senior Adviser – Consultancy Services, at The 5% Club).

These insights are today published in a second summary report, covering the findings drawn from across the 217 Employers who have participated in the first three years. This prestigious Scheme has grown from 73 participants in 2021 to 188 in 2023, and that growth looks set to continue with nearly 100 Employers already registered for the 2024/25 Scheme prior to the official launch.

In 2023, thirty-one Employers were awarded the new Platinum tier of membership, for having at least 10% of their UK workforce on “earn & learn” schemes – and having achieved Gold tier membership in the previous two years. A further 126 Employers were awarded Gold membership, with 23 awarded Silver and 8 awarded Bronze. “Earn and learn” schemes being defined by The 5% Club as Apprenticeships, Graduate Schemes, and Sponsored Students.

 The Employer Audit is an annual recognition scheme and provides participants with:

  •  Official accreditation of their commitment to providing ‘earn and learn’ opportunities for their employees.
  •   An enhanced logo – to reflect that they have achieved the prestigious Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum membership
  • A confidential research report analysing the organisation’s ‘earn and learn’ data – benchmarked with other employers so that all participants can learn from each other.

 The headlines from the first three years of research are:

  • The number of employees on the earn and learn programmes covered by this research now totals 62,000, with – on average – 7.7% of a large employer’s workforce on such schemes, and closer to 15% on those provided by SME Employers.
  • Whilst graduate schemes are more inclusive than Apprenticeships, there remains a male bias in participation, especially in Apprenticeships where females number just 20% of the workplace learner population.
  • Both the larger employers and SMEs were looking to grow their apprenticeships, although plans for graduate recruitment were more suppressed than previous years in this audit cycle.

 “I am delighted that across the first three years of our Employer Audit recognition scheme, over 200 members have been, and are being recognised for their ongoing commitment to providing “earn and learn” opportunities for their employees.

 As we start to emerge from challenging times, it is hugely encouraging to see so many members achieve the Gold level of membership and to have so many SMEs participating – they are really making a difference to the lives of their workplace learners providing them with the skills and experience needed for successful careers, and to contribute positively to much needed economic recovery and growth. And I am especially impressed with the significant few who have achieved our new Platinum Membership tier – quite an impressive collective achievement that looks set to grow in the years ahead.

 The 5% Club Employer Audit provides the means for our members to demonstrate and underline the social impact of their actions, as well as their contribution to the future of skills in our economy. As always, I applaud their commitment and efforts.”

 Gill Cronin, Director of Operations at The 5% Club said,

“The Audit results and the impressive number of members awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold demonstrates that they are the crème de la crème of employers working hard to provide skills and opportunities for so many of their employees.”

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