The Apprenticeship Levy One Year on

Following a year of the Apprenticeship Levy, Jill Whittaker, Managing Director at HIT Training, reflects on its impact and what opportunities its opened up for pubs.

“For some pubs, the perceived paperwork, costs and admin involved with the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy may well have, at times, felt a little overwhelming. 

“While this has caused some to write off the scheme as a failure, here at HIT Training we believe this is a short-sighted view. The reality is, that as with anything new, there have been teething problems and some confusion around the Levy itself. As such, it’s hardly surprising that, according to a report by the DFE, apprenticeship starts fell by 61% in 2017. 

“But this figure is much less dramatic than it first appears; businesses are understandably taking time to get to grips with the scheme first. This is certainly what we are seeing at HIT Training. In the hospitality sector, May 2017 saw apprenticeships starts at just 25% of the same month in 2016. But by the end of 2017 that figure had increased to 80% year-on year.” 

Reflecting on 12 months of the Levy 

“A key area of concern for independent freeholders is that many fall under the £3 million pay bill threshold for the Levy, meaning they have to contribute 10% towards their apprenticeship training – no insignificant amount at a time when everyone is being squeezed on the likes of food costs and rent prices.

“But it’s important not to look at this cost in isolation but rather at the value that staff investment can offer in the longer term. Our hospitality clients certainly continue to applaud apprenticeships as an excellent way to upskill staff whilst also attracting and retaining top talent – saving on money lost to recruitment and constant onboarding of new staff. 

“Here’s three top benefits to consider:

  • 80% of companies who invest in apprentices report an increase in staff retention
  • Apprentices deliver an average of £10k per annum in productivity gains
  • 77% of employers believe apprenticeships make them more competitive 

What the legislation looks like now 

“This year has seen two key evolutions in the world of apprenticeships;

“First, the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards, making training even more relevant and rigorous, with the benefits to businesses made even more obvious. For example, as part of the new end point assessment for the Hospitality Team Member apprenticeship, apprentices have to complete a business project to identify an opportunity to improve the business in which they work – many employers have grabbed hold of these initiatives with both hands and are already implementing them to great success.

“Secondly, the Government has opened the door for Levy-paying employers to help fund an apprentice in another organisation. This means they can help to increase the skills base in their supply chain, sector, charity or local area – one for publicans to consider if there are partnership opportunities open to them.

“There is no doubt apprenticeships are the go-to solution for employers looking to attract, retain and develop talent, from new starters right through to senior level employees, and we’re encourage pubs to evaluate their training needs and access the benefits apprenticeships can provide to their business and employees.” 

Please click here to view the article in the Morning Advertiser.

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