From education to employment

Benchmarking for “Earn & Learn” Success & Social Impact – The 5% Club launches the 2023/24 Employer Audit

During an event accessed by representatives from over 100 Employers, last week (2nd May 2023) The 5% Club launched the third year of its highly successful “Employer Audit” and coupled “UK Employer Earn & Learn Awards” by highlighting the key insights and impact from the first two years of the scheme. The online event – with insights from Martin Birchall, (Research Director for the Employer Audit, and Managing Director of Highfliers Research), Anthony Knowles (Head of Employer Insights Apprenticeships, at the Department for Education), and Mark Cameron OBE (CEO of The 5% Club) – explored the latest trends in Graduate and Apprentice employment, alongside a summary of the key findings from the first 2-years.

These insights have now been captured in a report, The 5% Club Employer Audit – inspiring increased, socially-inclusive ‘earn and learn’ opportunities , through employer benchmarking and annual membership awardswhich is published today and is the first summary report of the Employer Audit Scheme, produced in association with Investors in People.

The key findings of this report are:

  • Over 140 Companies have completed the Employer Audit, with participation growing from 71 in 2021, to 129 in 2022. The ratio of participation is two-thirds Large Employers to one-third SME Employers.
  • On average, about 80% of participants achieve Gold Member status, with a slight increase in 2022 compared to 2021.
  • On average, SME Employers deliver a higher percentage of their workforce in “earn and learn” schemes, at about 14% of the workforce, compared to about 8% in the Larger Employer participants.
  • More Employers participating offer Apprenticeships than offer Graduate Schemes.
  • Whilst most employers can provide information on gender, ethnic background and age, decreasing numbers hold information on family background, sexuality or disability.
  • The information held on Graduates bettered that held on Apprentices.
  • Scheme completion rates amongst audit participants were reported as consistently higher than the national average.
  • When audited, participants were generally planning to scale back plans for their “earn and learn” schemes in 2023.

Mark Cameron OBE, Chief Executive at The 5% Club said:

“All of us in The 5% Club are delighted with the growing success and enduring relevance of our Employer Audit process and the associated UK Employer “Earn & Learn” Awards, which is easily accessed by all employers, in terms of both cost and time to complete.

“In these challenging times, it is hugely encouraging to see so many members continue to 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.

“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.”

Paul Devoy, Chief Executive at Investors in People, said:

“Investing in people has never been more important than it is today – which is why we’re excited to support The 5% Club Employer Audit. Employers who join The 5% Club employer audit and achieve their status as a Bronze, Silver or Gold member are leading the way.

As the competition for skills is ever increasing, when productivity and workforce performance are continually under review, then Investors in People is proud to support those organisations who lead as exemplars of what is possible when an organisation demonstrably and consistently invests in the workforce at every level.

Apprenticeships continue to be a hot topic of conversation for employers, for the benefit of the economy and for the global success of the UK – and so they should be!  Since 2020, our We invest in apprentices framework has supported employers in creating engaged workforces, helping them offer the very best apprenticeship programmes to their people, supporting tens of thousands of apprentices every single year to start or progress in their ideal career

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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