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Let’s Talk Skills: Raising awareness of ways employers can use apprenticeships to train new and existing staff

Damian Burdin, Chief Executive at Progress to Excellence Ltd
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Progress to Excellence Ltd discusses skills gap and solutions at employer event.

EVERYTHING businesses need to know about maximising their training opportunities with Apprentice Levy funds can be discovered at an employer-led skills seminar in Birkenhead this month.

Training provider Progress to Excellence Ltd, in partnership with Wirral Chamber of Commerce, is holding the Let’s Talk Skills event to raise awareness of the various ways the employers can use apprenticeships to train new and existing staff.

Taking the form of an interactive panel discussion, the event is aimed at employers who want to find out more about how they can access incentive payments and transfer levy funds to help pay for training.

Chaired by Mark Basnett, Managing Director at Liverpool Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the breakfast event will be held at the Progress to Excellence Ltd national headquarters at Pacific Road Business Centre on Tuesday, April 16 and will have a panel of leading business figures from Liverpool City Region answering delegates’ questions about the skills gap and the practical solutions to help address them.

Let’s Talk Skills co-incides with the second anniversary of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy as well as marking the imminent start of the government’s “claw-back” of unspent levy funds.

Damian Burdin (pictured), Chief Executive at Progress to Excellence Ltd, said:

“Two important issues are at the heart of this event – the ongoing problem of solving the region’s skills shortages and the start of the claw-back by the government of any unspent Apprenticeship Levy funds from levy-paying employers. 

“The resulting impact on our businesses is likely to be massive but, by working together, steps can be taken to make inroads into meeting these challenges to our economic prosperity.”

Delegates will hear from levy-paying business leaders how they are supporting other non-levy paying organisations by “gifting” and sharing their Apprenticeship Levy funds to help pay for apprentice training, as well as other local organisations who have seen first-hand the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses. Patsy Crocker from Wirral Chamber of Commerce will also join the panel to share regional business insights. 

Attendees will also learn more about the various incentive payments available to employers who choose to train individuals aged 16-24 via apprenticeships.

Damian added: “Key to narrowing skills gaps is for levy-paying employers to use their levy funds to train their own dynamic workforce, by both taking on and training apprentices or by up-skilling existing staff.

“However, many still don’t know they can support other businesses and charities by sharing their levy funds for apprenticeship training. 

“Although the deadline date for the claw-back of unspent levy funds is imminent (6 Apr), there’s still a large number of employers who are not fully utilising their levy funds – even though it was clear from the outset there would be a two-year window in which they could utilise the funding before the money started to be returned to the government. 

 “However, it’s still not too late for businesses to act.”

Let’s Talk Skills is being held at Pacific Road Business Centre, Birkenhead CH41 1LJ, on Tuesday, April 16 from 8am-10am.

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