Posted on:
2nd January, 2019

LEPs join forces to deliver apprenticeship toolkit for local employers

An online interactive employers’ apprenticeship toolkit, developed by York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP and the Humber LEP to help employers navigate the apprenticeship process, is now live following its launch at an apprenticeship event for employers in December.

LEPs join forces to deliver apprenticeship toolkit for local employers

The toolkit is designed for businesses already engaging with apprenticeships as well as those that are just beginning their apprenticeship journey.

The content provides in-depth information for employers about on how to maximise apprenticeship funding, navigate the apprenticeship levy and gives guidance to improving apprenticeship recruitment and retention, signposting to local and national resources. By employing apprentices or investing in apprenticeship training for existing staff, businesses of any size can address their skills gaps and meet their growth aspirations.

The apprenticeship launch event in December, invited partners from apprenticeship provision and businesses, to address the barriers to engaging with apprenticeships, and offer solutions.

Adam Greenwood, from University of Hull gave an overview of apprenticeship reforms and funding. Adam outlined the opportunities that higher and degree apprenticeships can provide for businesses who want to invest in up skilling their existing staff. The opportunity to achieve degree level qualifications, learning and earning in a real work environment, is an increasing attractive prospect for young people who are looking to move away from the traditional and costly route through A-levels, and full time university.

Bringing her real world experience of working with the apprenticeship levy, Helen Marson from J R Rix demonstrated how their businesses broad approach to embedding apprenticeships across the whole of the company had provided a real opportunity to bring new people into the organisation as well as investing in existing workforce. Helen also gave practical tips on promoting external vacancies, including use of social media and varying the advert and messaging to attract both young people and parents to consider vacancies, as well as more experienced people who may already be in work.

Jill Coyle from Nestle, a company who employ apprentices across every level of their business in the UK and Ireland, addressed the challenge of managing the 20% off the job training requirements that are now part of apprenticeships. Whilst Jill acknowledged that understanding and embedding this practice required discipline from employers, she shared ideas around practical tools to managing this, advising regular communications and updates between employers and their training providers. Her plea to ensure that managers within the businesses were engaged in this process resonated well with the audience.

Recruiting the right staff into apprenticeships, and keeping hold of them once you’ve invested in training is a concern for many businesses, which is just one of the things the toolkit offers information about.

Craig Watson from the National Apprentice Ambassador Network covered how young apprentice ambassadors are helping to promote apprenticeships in schools, to raise the profile of local opportunities. 

Employers are encouraged to engage with their local LEP if they want to build links with schools and colleges nearby as both LEP’s 9YNYER & Humber) are running successful Careers Enterprise Company projects which connect up local schools and businesses.

Key recommendations from the day for employers included;

  • Structure – businesses should give real consideration to the longer term businesses needs and consider how apprenticeships could provide solutions.
  • Relationships – businesses are encouraged to engage with a range of providers, to understand how they differed and the support that they could require.
  • Share experiences – Richard Sellick at East Riding College gave a clear message that employers’ needs were central to providers planning and offering local provision. It was clear that training providers are committed to promoting pathways for career progression through apprenticeships and Richard have a thought provoking input for employers to really get them to consider the level of skills they need apprenticeships in their businesses to meet.

The LEP’s online, interactive Apprenticeship toolkit for employers is now live and the barriers and solutions discussed at the launch event are just some examples of the things the Apprenticeship toolkit covers.

Although developed to support employers directly, other apprenticeship training providers can use it as a means of engaging new and existing employers that they are working with.

The toolkit forms part of a border strategy of the YNYER and Humber LEPs to align the skills needs of regional employers with apprenticeship training and, whilst it is aimed to support employers directly, the hope is that apprenticeship training providers can make use of the toolkit as a means of engaging both new and existing employers that they are working with. The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership and Humber Local Enterprise Partnership are dedicated to raising the profile of apprenticeships with their local businesses and increasing quality apprenticeship access and opportunities across.

You can access and download the interactive toolkit here